I decided to take up water polo at the end of 2016 (with a little encouragement from my friend/coworker who happens to be a water polo aficionado). I knew I needed to workout, but I couldn’t get a routine going to save my life, so water polo seemed like the least miserable option for a calorie burning activity.
Fitness level? Similar to a 10 year old boy
Game knowledge? Score goals and don’t drown
Equipment? Didn’t even know specific water polo suits existed
I felt like a high schooler as I squeezed my cellulite into an old swim team Speedo. It somehow fit after 5 years, so I guess that’s good. I learned that the downside of regular suits in water polo is the opportunity for suit grabbing, you know, in case you don’t already feel exhausted while fighting to stay afloat. Also, I didn’t even have a cap on day one…such an amateur.
Fun fact #1: there’s a specific technique for treading water and moving around–it’s called the eggbeater kick. You alternate your legs in circles to stay afloat and it’s harder than you’d think. I mean, if you’re just eggbeatering (someone alert Webster about this new word) it’s easy, but when you’re wrestling for the ball, it’s next to impossible to egg beater when breaststroke kick is your brain’s natural reaction in an attempt not to drown.
Fun fact #2: some guys and almost all girls can’t palm a water polo ball. Yet somehow we’re supposed to throw it with all our might. That’s not all; we’re suppose to get our whole body into the throw. While treading water…Here’s a glimpse into my thought process.
*eggbeater eggbeater eggbeater CATCH THE BALL eggbeater protect the ball eggbeater eggbeater SHOVE DEFENDER eggbeater breaststroke NO BREASTSTROKE eggbeater THROW deep breath eggbeater DON’T DROWN eggbeater*
It’s a miracle I haven’t drowned yet.
I told my mom it was exhausting. She said “I’d imagine so! You have to tread water the whole time!” No, mom. It’s not just the treading. Simply treading is like a break. An actual scrimmage is more like SPRINT! eggbeater wrestle throw wrestle SPRINT! catch wrestle eggbeater shove SPRINT! eggbeater elbow to face eggbeater SPRINT!
I’m going to be hearing “EGGBEATER” in the background of my nightmares.
Fun fact #3: water polo makes me eat 5x more food than usual. Even if I’m burning 500 calories, I probably consume 1500 after practice. It’s a bad habit that I should probably break asap.
Fun fact #4: water polo suits make you feel like you’ve been vacuum packed. Breathing is optional. Once you’re zipped in, you are completely dependent on someone else to let you out of the straight-jacket-like contraption.
Fun fact #5: we basically wear bonnets while we play. The cap serves as ear protection and a place to put player numbers, so despite the somewhat dorky appearance, they serve a real purpose.
With all this said, I’m continuing my new sport into 2017. Believe it or not, I’m traveling to 3 tournaments with my team! I’m the opposite of an MVP, but they still let me hang around.