Column by Memo Gracida
Yesterday, we heard the news about the passing of one of the last truly passionate and dedicated people in the sport of polo- Steve Orthwein, Sr. This loss will be felt all over the world, as Steve was such a wonderful and an important person in the sport of polo.
Alongside his twin brother, Peter, Steve learned the game from their father, Adolphis. We often talked often about their experiences growing up: their experiences by themselves looking after their own horses, playing the game, loving the game, and participating in all of the tournaments all over the world. I played against Steve when I first came to the United States as a young professional player. He played with Gonzalo Tanoira, George Hass, and Peter Orthwein, and it was always one of the most competitive teams on the field, especially, when Steve played his favorite mare, Vengeance. She was a bay mare and every time he played her, Steve played two goals higher than his rating.
Without a doubt, up until his very last day, Steve was an example to all of us because he lived life passionately and with full dedication in everything that he did. He was a passionate and dedicated horseman and polo player. Up to the date of his accident, Steve would ride eight green horses, go and play chukkers, and then go and ride three more green horses after the practice game. He truly enjoyed and was very, very good at making horses. He had incredible balance, timing and feeling with the horses, and he got to reach 6-goals as an amateur player. His feats on the polo field and with his horses were truly admirable and Steve was equally as accomplished off of the polo field. Steve was a passionate and dedicated husband, father, and brother and polo served as a catalyst to bring he and his family together whenever possible. I will always remember how Steve would call Ginny “Partner” as a term of endearment. But, it was also the truth. Ginny and Steve had a beautiful marriage and the wonderful children and life that the two of them created was nothing short of the results of the true love they shared for each other.
While the past 24 hours since hearing of Steve’s passing has been very difficult, a smile comes to my face as I think of the many memories I shared with Steve. I will remember vividly and happily the times that Steve came to play at my place in Florida, Portales. Just down the road, Steve owned one of the biggest clubs in the United States, Port Mayaca. Yet, I could always get him to come play chukkers with me, largely in part because he was guaranteed a proper Mexican lunch after each practice. He enjoyed coming to play at my place and I enjoyed hosting him even more. We would often spend hours together after playing talking about polo, family, and life. These memories spent with Steve in my club house at Portales will now remain as some of the greatest memories I have in my entire polo career.
I am really going to miss Steve and I know this is a feeling that I share mutually with the entire polo community. Steve left an incredible mark on the world of polo and he will never be forgotten. His legacy will continue to live on through his beautiful family and the efforts he put into supporting the sport of polo. Ginny, Steve, Robert, Danny, Peter, Margaret, Tiffany, Hazel, and the rest of the Orthwein family, our sincerest condolences to each of you. The world just lost a wonderful man and our thoughts are with you. We love you, Senior.