Throwback Thursday: The Water Polo Kid

I once told a student that most high schools don’t offer water polo as a sport because it’s too hard to get the horses out of the pool. When she said, “Really?” I replied, “Yes, and did you know the word ‘gullible’ isn’t in the dictionary?” She wasn’t too happy with me.

Her confusion was understandable, though, as water polo is largely unknown, despite the fact that it’s an Olympic sport. I can tell you firsthand, it’s exhausting. Players are constantly in motion, and you’re not allowed to touch the bottom of the pool, even if it’s shallow enough to do so. Fatigue sets in quickly. That’s why substitutions are made throughout the game, much like the line changes in hockey.

It’s a brutal sport, too. A lot happens under the water that the refs never see. That’s why you’re required to wear two swim suits and trim your nails for inspection before every match. It can get rough out there. I once took a shot during a co-ed league game and broke a girl’s nose doing it.

That’s not happening in the picture below. I’m only in 7th grade there and hadn’t hit my growth spurt yet. I wasn’t able to break anything with those arms, let alone somebody’s nose! Water polo was a great run-up to the swim season, so it helped keep us in shape. 

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