Football players are tough. Swimmers are in amazing shape. Basketball players are among the most athletic. Water Polo players? They’re all three.
Before you go off the deep end and tell me how wrong I am, hear me out. If water polo players are such good athletes (they are), then why does Water Polo get no love? I’ve seen gymnastics on T.V. more than water polo during the Olympics.
Here’s one reason why I don’t think the sport gets any love. The following is an exchange I am sure no one has ever heard.
Guy No. 1: Hey man, tough day at work? What are you doing this weekend?
Guy No. 2: Oh, you know, I’m going to hang out with the guys, play some pick-up games of water polo at the Y.
Water polo is such a tough sport to play that not any average Joe can go play a pick up game like basketball, softball, or even football.
If you aren’t up-to-date with water polo allow me to inform you. Water polo is a combination of swimming, basketball and football and it’s played in about 20 feet of water.
For anyone to say these athletes aren’t some of the best, and for the sport to get little coverage is a shame. Water Polo may be one of the few sports where you have to be an athlete to even compete.
Look at baseball, not many would consider Prince Fielder an athlete yet he is one of the top players in the game. In the NFL would you consider a 300 plus pound lineman an athlete, or is he just strong? Even in the NBA, not all are athletes (Robert “Tractor” Taylor anyone?)
Water polo is completely different. The athletes are swimming in 20 feet of water, when they aren’t swimming they are staying afloat by egg-beating (kicking their legs in the motion of an egg-beater) and they toss a ball around.
Next, add getting kicked repeatedly, a clouded field of vision with water splashing everywhere and some other person hanging on top of you trying to dunk you under water if they can get away with it.
Michael Phelps is considered one of the top athletes in the world, and deservedly so. I am in no way taking away what he did because it was simply amazing, but he only does 1/3 of what water polo players do.
Sunday afternoon the men’s water polo team, who came into the Olympic games ranked number nine in the world, goes for the gold against the two time defending world champion Hungary. If the men’s team captures gold, will it propel the sport in the United States? That remains to be seen, but fans of the sport can only hope it will.
If they happen to only capture silver, that will still be quite an accomplishment for the team. Who knows maybe in the 2012 games Phelps will switch sports and help add one more gold medal to his resume.