Behind The Microphone Retired Polo Player Toby Wayman Is Now Known As One Of The Sport’s Top Commentators
By Mike May
Toby Wayman was born and raised to be a polo player, but his true destiny was to be the voice for the “sport of kings” as an announcer and commentator at polo matches here in Wellington and at top matches across the nation. Wayman has been found behind the microphone since 2010, and he does it very well. He is a natural, talking about polo with a microphone in his hand.
Wayman, who lives in Wellington with his wife and two sons, spends his time these days as a livestream announcer for polo matches in Wellington, as well as Sheridan, Wyoming, and Santa Barbara, California. In Wellington, he provides commentary at the Gauntlet of Polo, which includes the C.V. Whitney Cup, the USPA Gold Cup and the U.S. Open, as well as the Wellington Polo Tour, which is a 16-goal league.
While Wayman has the “gift of the gab” when it comes to talking about polo, his background as a polo player is the foundation for his current role. He can “talk the talk” because he has “walked the walk” in polo.
Wayman’s polo background goes deeper than his career as a player. He is a fourth-generation polo player — born into the sport and raised within the sport. As a player, he was a 4-goaler, while his father, Tommy Wayman, was a 10-goaler.
Wayman, 40, was a good polo player, but he was not among the greats of the sport. He, unfortunately, had to retire from playing at age 28 due to an injury. He didn’t realize it at the time, but his career-ending injury was probably the best thing that ever happened to him, career-wise, since he was perfectly qualified to make the transition to being a polo announcer.
“After I quit playing, I sold my horses, and I only had a high school education,” Wayman recalled. “All that I knew anything about was polo.”
While Wayman knows a great deal about polo, he added that his father was his top teacher.
“Everything I know in polo, I learned from my dad,” he said. “Polo is the only topic that I ever talked about with my father while growing up. We still only talk about polo every time we get together.”
Soon after he retired from being a player, Wayman received an offer from longtime friend Jimmy Newman to come fill in as an on-field announcer at the International Polo Club Palm Beach, now the National Polo Center-Wellington. If it had not been for that invitation from Newman, he probably would not be where he is today.
As they say, success in life is often based on who you know and not what you know. In Wayman’s case, he both knew all the key people in the industry and had all the background knowledge to make a go as a polo announcer.
Wayman is forever thankful to Newman for giving him a chance to do what he does best, which is talking about polo.
“Initially, I saw my role as an announcer as a way to use my knowledge of polo to stay relevant in the sport,” Wayman said.
Now, livestream announcing of polo is a way for Wayman to make a living in the sport.
Soon after his guest debut with a microphone in 2010, Wayman started working as a livestream announcer for Melissa and Marc Ganzi at Chukker TV, which included providing play-by-play commentary for the “Featured Game of the Week.”
He then made the transition to working for the United States Polo Association and is now providing livestream commentary for Global Polo TV.
Looking back since 2010, Wayman has probably provided commentary for more than 1,200 polo matches. Yet he honestly feels that his best days as a polo announcer are still ahead of him.
“Polo is a sport that is always evolving, and it always feels fresh,” Wayman said. “Today, there are so many brilliant players with the ball, and the horses are equally amazing.”
One of Wayman’s unique on-the-air skills is his ability to correctly anticipate what’s about to happen on the polo field, and then to analyze what just happened.
“I have good vision, and I can tell what’s about to happen before it actually takes place,” Wayman explained. “Then, I like to go back to review what happened and explain why it happened. I like to be precise and accurate. I want the viewers to understand what it is they are watching.”
After the polo season ends each spring in Wellington, Wayman and his family will relocate to his childhood hometown of Sheridan, Wyoming, where polo is big in the summer months. His parents also live in Sheridan, so it’s a great family time, as well.
From his home base in Wyoming, and with access to technology, Wayman provides commentary for polo matches in California, as well.
“On Thursdays and Saturdays, I’m commentating on polo matches in Sheridan, and on Fridays and Sundays, I’m announcing polo matches being played in Santa Barbara, California, from my home base in Wyoming,” Wayman said. “I can watch the video feed from California on my iPad and provide the commentary through a microphone. The two big polo events in California are the Pacific Coast Open and the Silver Cup.”
Clearly, Wayman has a unique way of making a living, and it’s a profession which he’s in no hurry to stop doing. “I’d like to do this ’til the day I die,” he said.
When he’s not providing commentary on polo, Wayman spends a great deal of time at home with his wife and two sons. When he needs to relax, he likes to sharpen his knife collection and look after his bonsai tree.
“It’s very relaxing to prune, water and nurture my bonsai tree,” Wayman said.
As someone who has been around polo for years, Wayman has his own thoughts about some of the best polo players and polo horses currently on the scene.
Two of his favorite horses to watch are Aji, ridden by Lucas Criado Jr., and Magnifica, owned and played by Facundo Pieres. According to Wayman, both horses sense the significance of any occasion and make things happen with their riders aboard.
The same thing can be said of Wayman when he’s providing commentary. He can sense the significance of the occasion, and he can accurately predict what’s about to happen. And, more often than not, he’s right.