Intense, active, exhausting: Water Polo deserves more credit

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John Landis

The Men’s Water Polo team took second in the Schaumburg Tournament. The team competes in a conference match against Warren at home today.

Ryan Devine, Staff Writer

Despite the skill and hard work needed to excel in water polo, it just never gets the respect it deserves.

It’s an exhausting sport that revolves around a constant pace of swimming, then treading, and then trying to pass and shoot the ball. The sport requires a lot of man-to-man defense, meaning it can get very physical as players fight for position in the pool.

There is rarely ever time for a break during a match, a fact that your whole body can attest to the next morning.

Yet even when I’m subbed out, and my exhaustion is at a peak, I find myself more than eager to get back in the water.

I have played this sport for three years, and my only regret is not doing it all four. Admittedly, like most athletes here, it wasn’t even on my radar as a freshman. I  don’t actually remember what my reason was for first joining my sophomore year, but I’m glad I did.

It should also be noted that my three years of polo is minuscule compared to the kids who are more serious about it. For context, junior Greg Damidot has played for seven years.

It’s a sport that has taught me a lot too. It requires confidence and intensity, which are two things that I have developed as a person because of it. The opposing player you are battling against is not going to pity you, and underestimating an opponent is an easy way to get taken advantage of.

There is nothing more satisfying than hearing the smack of the ball against the blue back of the goal.”

Above all, though, it’s fun. You learn slowly how to tread, elevate, and shoot, and before you know it, all those become second nature. It is fun to improve and to win in a sport that once felt so intimidating.

But you cannot do it alone. Water polo is another shining example of a great team sport. The plays we run require multiple players for them to work. When trying to score, passing is essential. Not to mention the long bus rides and exhausting tournaments you will share before the season is over.

Unfortunately, this great sport is underrated, at least around here. While we cannot play it year-round like Californians can, water polo has given the arrival of spring a new meaning for me. It is a sport that includes speed, power, and skill.

If you are in high school and need a spring sport for next year, give it a try.