Press Room Banter: Women's Water Polo

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Women's water polo - a sport that Poseidon himself could get behind, despite the clear absence of tridents.

Actively promoted in six of seven seas and sponsored by 18 water-based drinks (not to mention the 34 island nations that have named it their national sport), women's water polo also happens to be the beat I will be covering for The Daily Californian this semester.

It all started a few weeks ago, when Poseidon himself (he's way up there in the newspaper's pecking order - just under Zeus, I think) asked me to report on a sport that was as Greek to me as mythology is to the average sorority - and filled with just as many double entendres.

Knowing that it would be my most difficult assignment yet - except for the time I gave a sorority its fill of double entendres, if you know what I mean - I jumped at the opportunity, well aware that a refusal would lead to my head on his trident, if you know what I mean.

So if you have a moment, I'd like to invite you on this wonderful journey of discovery and self-discovery as I discover what women's water polo is all about: You might just learn something about yourself, especially if you happen to play water polo.

From what I've researched over the past few weeks, women's water polo appears to be a water-based sport, known for its athletes of the feminine persuasion. With six players and a goalie in the pool for each team, points are awarded through a "ball-entering-net" process. The highest scoring team often proceeding to win the match, as well as Poseidon's heart.

Balance between a team's drivers and defenders is just as critical as chlorine is to the pool's pH balance - and just as deadly for the opponent when used correctly, or incorrectly in the case of chlorine. The significance of positioning and passing always provide an exciting display of athletic awareness and strategic defense initiative.

From what I've seen, it is indeed a spectator sport. While fans are not encouraged to come on down from the bleachers and splash around in the pool during meets, water polo is heavy on the action, with minor injuries involving regular bumps and bruises, and some of the more serious injuries including water polio.

But alas, as my journey of discovery comes to a close, it is important to remember that no story is complete if it lacks an origin story - or an ending, for that matter. So perhaps it is time to dive into the deep end and begin with the story of the first water polo.

It was the late 1800s: Communism threatened the free world, dry land threatened the oceans, and with Darwin's shocking discovery of sea creatures evolving into land dwellers, water sports had been hung out to dry. A young William Wilson took it upon himself to codify the rules of the game, a game that would send shockwaves around the world of sports. And waves around the pools around the world.

Spurning any association with the equestrian sport of polo, but still drawing heavily from the traditional pool game Marco Polo, water polo was founded upon the old English adage "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him play water polo" - and the even older English adage "Hęfdon swurd nacod, ža wit on sund reon, heard on handa; wit unc wiš hronfixas werian žohton."

And the rest (Marco!) is water (Polo!) under the bridge.


Play Marco Polo at a sorority with Samuel at [email protected]

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