A Day in the Life: Water Polo

This article is the second installment of “A Day in the Life,"a series of articles where a staff member of The Voice gets a feel for what it is like to be a student athlete. For this month, reporter Elizabeth Reinhardt joined the Junior Varsity Water Polo Team for one of their afternoon practices.

Video By Lauren Thomason

Elizabeth Reinhardt, Reporter

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Water Polo. It’s a sport known for brutality and packing a punch. So why on earth would I be willing to jump in the pool with a group of girls that could easily put me under water? The only justifiable answer would be that I’m crazy.

As I stood there on the edge of the pool deck, I was extremely nervous. I have a long history with swimming, and it is not a good one. My dives turn out to be belly flops, my freestyle is mostly doggy paddle, and I never had, nor ever will, have a future in swimming. But it was too late to back out now, so with my heart racing at what seemed like 100 mph, I closed my eyes and jumped into the water.

One thing I quickly came to learn during my time in the pool was that water polo involves swimming, a lot of swimming. In fact for the first thirty minutes, we did nothing but swimming. I had no issue with this, as I knew how to swim, but let’s just say that at no point was I leading the pack of swimmers. In fact the kick board quickly became my best friend, and I even had to stop at various points during our swim sets so that I wouldn’t drown and miss out on the rest of the practice.

After my near death experience, the water polo gods finally decided to put me out of my misery. Much to my liking, we began to practice passes, something that I could actually do. But just as I became accustomed to actually being able to doing something, we decided to do pressure passes.

For those people who don’t play water polo, a pressure pass is a pass you have to make while someone is defending you, up close and personal. So there I was, barely keeping my head above the water, and one way or another, I had to get the ball past the girl who was basically trying to drown me. Given that, all of my passes were basically a shot in the dark, as I hoped for the best that the ball would find its target.

Of course my humiliation did not stop there, as up next was goalkeeping. At first the goalies were nice enough to go easy on me. As I was able to block their passes, I gained confidence that maybe I could actually do this. Junior Kailey Stauble says, “My favorite thing as a goalie is blocking shots because when I first started I wasn’t very good but I’ve improved a lot and it feels great.” But as the rest of the team lined up to shoot, my confidence  quickly went down the drain. Somehow, balls ended up in the net before I even had time to react and it felt like these girls were aiming more for my face.

That’s because just like every athlete, the girls on JV water polo are determined. They are determined to score, determined to win, and most of all they are determined to do their best. However, being the best does not happen overnight, but rather by overcoming whatever obstacles stand in their way.

“It’s harder than most people think,” says junior Morgan McKenna.  Sophomore Emily Roland adds, “It takes a lot of endurance.” Determination leads to success, and that is something that these girls live by. It is what makes them a force to be reckoned with, both in and out of the pool.