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Water Polo, Research Paper Example

Pages: 17

Words: 4583

Research Paper

Why Im writing this paper

I came across water polo when my sister first started playing it in high school. She has taught me about everything I know about the sport so far, but I want to know more. I have always been very competitive with my sister, so I plan to beat her in water polo through my extensive research. Water polo is an aquatic sport that involves six players on the field and one goalkeeper. Like any other game with a ball, the object of the game is to score. In order to do this, players must cooperate with one another and keep passing the ball until they have an open shot to shoot the ball through the opposing teams goalkeeper. I find this topic important to me because I have developed a great passion for it over the years and I want to learn much more about it. This might result in me being better at the sport and being more effective during the practices. Of course, I have considered talking about other topics such as law enforcement (most of my relatives are or were police officers) or baseball (I used to play), but after careful consideration, I have realized that I love water polo above any other topic. Being under the instruction of my idol is an experience that I will forever hold in my heart. This past summer (2014), I had the great opportunity to attend a water polo camp at the University of Southern California. Needless to say, I was excited before the trip, but once I got to the university, I was overwhelmed. For starters, the campus was beautiful; it was unlike anything else I had ever seen

before. This was the place I was going to be able to call home for the rest of my time at camp. I was thrilled at the idea that I would be playing water polo side by side to exemplary water polo players. In my mind, I felt like an Olympian ready to take on the world. Dont get me wrong, I was extremely nervous to be doing this alone for the first time in my life, but at the same time I was enthusiastic that I was in such a great place learning to do what I loved most in this world: play water polo. The moment I found out that Jovan Vavic would be my coach for the remainder of my time at the University of Southern California, I was over enthusiastic. Mr. Vavic is recognized as one of the top water polo coaches in the United States, serving as the head coach for both the mens and womens teams. When I first walked up to him, a simple Hello did the trick. He immediately introduced himself and showed enthusiasm to be my trainer for the next couple of days. Getting a one on one interaction with this kind of human being was breathtaking.  Here was a man that I had only seen in television throughout my life and now he was going to be my coach for a short period of time! I had always loved water polo, but this trip became a defining moment for me in my life. I learned that the only way I would be successful, both inside and outside the water, would have to be through hard work, sweat, and determination. All of the events that unfolded throughout this trip proved to be life-changers and made me into the man that I am today. In addition to that, I am excited to be talking about the thing that I love most in this world because through my extensive research, I will become aware of anything and everything that there is to learn about water polo. I am strong in the resolve that my undertaking this essay, I will finally be doing coursework that I enjoy because I will be talking about the one thing in this world that I could not trade for anything. Also, I believe that by writing about water polo, I will be provided with much more information about the sport, which will allow me to play better on the field and teach me to appreciate the game much more. I see this essay as a great opportunity to engage in what I like through my academics.

Part II: What I knew (and didnt know about my topic when I started out.)

Before I started my research, I knew close to nothing about the history of water polo. I know the sport well, for I have played it multiple times and my sister has made sure that I do not give up when the going gets tough. Her stories had also interested me until I finally decided to join water polo one day. When I started out, I knew how the game was played, but I was not aware of every single rule and what the player positions were called. One of the few things that I was aware of when I was just starting out was that it was my mission (and my teammates mission) to get the ball across the opposing teams field. As I continued to play and became more interested in water polo, I started asking the smart questions such as How do you counter an inside pass to the hole-set? and How effective is a zone defense when you are down a man (5-6 players)? Throughout this extensive research, the majority, if not all, of my questions have finally been answered. I now know that the point of the game is not only to win it, but to win it as a team. On that note, I have now come to realize that becoming a better player takes more than just practice- it is a lifestyle. Everyday, I ask myself: How can I become a better player? Hard work and dedication are always the answer. I am aware of the fact that at the present moment I may not be the best player out there, but I am also aware of the fact that if I am willing to put in the work necessary to become an elite athlete, I can get there through my determination. Water polo is so interesting that the majority of the people that I have had the chance to introduce water polo to have all told me that they want to start playing immediately. In my opinion, this is because people want something different that is not soccer, basketball, or baseball. These sports are so mainstream, if you will. Water polo is nothing like mainstream. Like I said before, water polo should be given its own genre because of how different it is to other sports. Not even other aquatic sports can compare to water polo. Other aquatic sports such as swimming or diving do not include a setting like soccer on water. Many individuals may think that water polo is extremely dangerous because of the fact that it is played in water, but in actuality, water polo is less dangerous than the mainstream sports. Take soccer, for example: Players must run on ground and gravity always plays a major role in hurting them. Not to say that gravity does not play its role in water polo, but like any person that has been in water before would agree, gravity feels different when you are in water. If someone were to trip you in a basketball game, for example, you would immediately fall to the ground and injure yourself; not in water polo though! In water polo, even if someone trips you and attempts to hurt you purposefully, gravity will not make you fall to the bottom of a pool so fast that you hurt yourself. Probably the only danger that water polo comes with is that fact that there are many players and there is the probability that someone might elbow you while trying to catch the ball. However, even with that potential risk, every sport has its risks. Water polo does a great job of keeping its players safe, however, because they must always wear helmets to protect them of the event of any accident that might result in grave injury or even death.Way back, before I started playing water polo, I thought that the positions in the sport were very similar to soccer (attacker, centerfielder, defender). Turns out that I had it all wrong. Of course, some parts of water polo are similar to other sports, but what really makes water polo unique from all other sports is the fact that it is played in water. Water polo is unlike any sport there is out there. It should be talked about as its own genre, because that is what it is. On that note, it is important to realize that water polo is only played in some areas of the country. Water polo is not like soccer and basketball, where individuals play anywhere and everywhere. This might be due to the fact that not many people know that water polo even exists and those who do, have never bothered to learn what it is all about. Also, before I started playing, I was receiving all the water polo information that I knew from my sister, who would constantly feed me information about how to play the game (rules, regulations, etc). Reading through my primary source, I have discovered a vast amount of information about water polo (later discussed). In addition, I have grown to appreciate the sport more than I imagined. By becoming aware of all of the history that water polo is compromised of and why is it still popular in todays culture, I have developed within me a passion to want to succeed in water polo, not only for myself, but for future generations as well. I admit that before undertaking extensive research on water polo, I deemed it as just another sport that is fun and entertaining. Now I know that the sport is much more than that. Water polo has made me realize that in order to succeed (both inside and outside of the water), one must be willing to work side by side with others. Aside from all of the logistics of the game (later discussed), my primary and additional sources did an excellent job of portraying what a real water polo player should know and how he or she should behave when playing. Like any other sport, I have come to understand that water polo is something that takes a lot of time to practice and get good at. For me, playing water polo comes naturally. For others, water polo must be worked at day and night. I have learned that whether playing water polo comes naturally or not, individuals will not excel in the sport if they are not willing to put in all of the time and effort that such a rigorous sport requires. In a way, my thinking has been corrected in the sense that I now view water polo through different lenses.

Throughout this research, my intention is to focus on three primary things: the history of water polo, how the game is played, and why individuals should consider playing water polo in the future. First and foremost, I am interested in being able to explain where water polo is derived from and what has made it popular throughout the ages. In addition, I am interested in knowing the origins of water polo and where the name polo comes from. Not only that, but I also want to discover the kinds of impact that water polo has had in society and to figure out if there has ever been major controversy in the sport of polo. Being aware of the famous figures who have played water polo throughout their lives would also serve as additional motivation and inspirational to strive to be like them in the future. On that note, I would like to find out who the founder(s) of water polo is. Unlike soccer and swimming, I believe that water polos origins can be traced far back, considering the fact that someone must have come up with the sport (whereas it is in mans nature to swim). I highly doubt that there any moral conflicts within the category of water polo, but I could be wrong. Possibly the most immoral thing about water polo is that individuals may be hurt at times, if ever. Aside from that, I do not believe that there are any immoral actions that have been directly linked to water polo in the past. If there are, I would be completely surprised. In order to find this information out, however, extensive research must be done. From all of this, I have come to the conclusion that my three research questions will be as follows: How was the sport of water polo formulated and how has it developed over time?, How is the game of water polo played and what special rules and regulations must be followed?, and What advantages does playing water polo have over playing other kinds of sports (specifically ground sports)? All of these answers will be able to be answered throughout the course of the research.

Part III: Extensive Research/Answers regarding the Research Questions

Water polo has been played throughout the ages for multiple purposes. In practicality, water polo has been played as a sport for recreational purposes throughout the years. Despite the fact that the exact origin of water polo is not known, it is presumed that Water Polo began as a sport sometime in the 19th century in England (“History of the Game of Water Polo). These kinds of games were much more aggressive than they are today. In fact, these games were so aggressive that at times, players would have to be dragged out of the water unconscious. Although its origins trace back to England during the 19th century, the first official game of water polo was played in the United States back in 1818. This game was played in accordance to the kind of rugby that was played on the ground (violently). This aggressive game attracted many individuals and were often displayed at Madison Square Garden, attracting over 14,000 spectators. Even more so, some individuals go as far as to say that the game of water polo was first started in the 17 century somewhere in India.

An imperative question that must be asked is How has water polo been influenced by other countries and customs? This answer is a simple one once one knows that water polo originated in England. From there, it was brought to the United States. It is only fair to assume that water polo was influenced by the Americans in such a way so that it followed their own rules and moral regulations. The following paragraph describes from what both the term water poloand the game water polo were derived and influenced from.

In order to delve into the history of water polo, the term water polo must first be understood. Many believe that water polo got its name derived from the polo that refers to horseback riding. In actuality, however, the name is the only direct link between the two sports.

Dettamanti describes this correlation perfectly: Since the ball was made of a rubber manufactured in the East Indies, the Indian named the ball pulu [which] was probably translated into English as polo”” (Dettamanti 18) Due to the fact that there is not an exact date as to when water polo was originated in England, some individuals believe that holiday resort owners would invest time into this sport and would make it better and better so that more guests would come to their hotels. Although this may just be a myth, it would be grand to know that water polo was so popular throughout the 1800s that it even attracted individuals from all over the world just to play or even be a spectator to the sport. In addition, since these games were not held in private pools (as they are now), the first games are said to have been played in rivers and lakes. Because of the fact that water polo was to similar to horseback polo, people started to call it water polo.

Despite the fact that there are multitude of sources that state that water polo does not have its own originator, other reputable sources beg to differ. These sources indicate that the real founder of water polo was a man by the name of William Wilson. However, even these sources state that though he was the inventor of water polo, there are no clear records that indicate that Wilson took specific steps into the development of the games rules and regulations (Giannouris). The game of water polo was first referred to as football in water, but was later given its official name. Although the game used to be more exciting (in term of violence), it is still very popular today and is said to have continued popularity throughout many generations. Nowadays, water polo is an olympic sport that is very competitive and in which only the best of the best are allowed to play in. In order to be part of these elite group of players, one must dedicate his or her whole life into being a water polo player, hoping that someday he or she is good enough to be drafted into the olympics, either as a back-up or an actual player. The history of water polo is one of the most interesting histories regarding sports because of the manner in which there is a lot of mystery as to who the actual originator of water polo was. For all we know, water polo could very well trace its roots centuries back.

Water polo is played and in accordance to special rules and regulations. These rules and regulations must be followed because they have been produced as a result of trial and error throughout the years (Giannouris). Failure to be in accordance with these rules could very well result in someone being seriously injured. In addition to there being a variety of rules and regulations involved in the game of water polo, there are also set players who must be in their respective place at the start of the game. These players are all referred to by their position name. This players all have certain positions (i.e., goalkeeper) in order to ensure that there is a player covering every section of the playing area during the game. This helps the players save their energy so that they do not have to be traveling to and from the length of the pool, extending their energy.

Major and minor alterations have been made to the rules and regulations of water polo in previous years. For example, in the past, a rubber ball had began to replace the original ball which was made from a pig’s stomach (“History of the Game of Water Polo: Collegiate Water Polo Association.) This would now mean that the ball that was played with would now be lighter and would be able to be used much more efficiently.  These kind of changes were necessary so that water polo could evolve into what it is today. Had water polo not changed the way it did things, it would have probably ceased to exist many years ago. It is due to the fact that the individuals within the sport have learned to adapt quickly to new changes that the game is still alive and well today.

In addition to regulations (such as the ball change) in water polo, there are a variety of rules within the sport as well. One of the most important rules in water polo is the fact that a team is always racing against the clock. As Dettamanti stated: it is imperative that the ball gets down the pool quickly so that a team has time to a score a goal.(Dettamanti 28) Because of the fact that a team only has thirty seconds to shoot the ball and attempt to make a goal, a team must be willing to work hard and efficiently in order to score. Failure to comply with this rule may result in the team losing that certain game. Special techniques that players often use throughout the games in order to win is that they place the small ball inside of their swimming trunks, swim towards the goals as fast as they can, and attempt to score.

In order the answer the last research question (What advantages does playing water polo have over playing other kinds of sports (specifically ground sports?), all factors must be taken into account. This is the part where rules, regulations, physical aspects, safety, and pace of the sport must be taken into account. It goes without saying that individuals who have recurring heart problems in their lives should not undergo any kind of vigorous exercise, especially water polo. This is because water polo can be rough at times, considering it was nearly adopted from the American style of rugby. However, for those individuals who are healthy and are looking for ways to get involved in a rigorous sport all while having fun, water polo is the perfect sport. Not only does water polo offer great exercise, but it also pushes individuals to think on their feet and to not give up when the game gets difficult (Giannouris). Water polo is a game that should be enjoyed and played by everyone who is eligible.

In addition to being a very fun activity, water polo has been known to increase the endurance of any athlete. This is because of the fact that since the athlete must constantly be swimming towards the ball, he or she has no other choice than to give it all he or she has in order to reach the ball before the opposing team does. This is not to say that other sports do not offer the same health benefits as water polo but another great reason as to why an athlete should opt for playing water polo is because, unlike other sports such as track and field, water polo is extremely easy on the joints. This means that for someone who has had knee problems in the past, water polo is a great sport. Similar to competitive swimming, water polo has also been shown to improve the cardiovascular health of any individual. The fact that one cannot be injured as easily during water polo as opposed to football or rugby makes many individuals consider joining a water polo team. Not only does water polo help individuals physically, but also mentally. Water polo, being a very difficult game, challenges many individuals to think on their feet and to not give up when the game gets more difficult than it should be. Of course, if there is an injured player on the field, he or she must be taken out immediately before blood stains the whole pool, which would ruin the fun for everybody. Aside from that, water polo is great at aiding individuals achieve flexibility due to constant swimming. (“History of the Game of Water Polo: Collegiate Water Polo Association.) Water polo is a game that help athletes in all aspects of life. It teaches athletes disciple to never give up and to always keep trying. Not only that, but it also helps many individuals attain their wanted weight loss. Even for a person who hates swimming, water polo may seem like a lot of fun, especially when played with friends.

What makes water polo so unique from all of the other kinds of sports is that water polo encompasses all other sports in a safer, more effective way.

Part IV: Simplified

The kind of information that I was able to attain from all of the extensive research that was undertaken was impeccable. I now know more than I could ever want to know about where water polo comes from and what has influenced it. I was very interested in the fact that when water polo first came to the United States, people attempted to incorporate rugby rules into the sport. Also, I found it very interesting that there were a few moral problems with water polo due to the fact that it used to be an extremely violent sport. An example of this is that opposing teams would attempt to drown other players so that they could not get the ball. Offenses could never be called since in past years, the water in the games was usually murky in order to make the spectators wonder what was truly going on beneath the water. One of the things that I will definitely remember in the back of my mind forever is the fact that water polo has been around for hundreds of years. Knowing this, every game that I play from now on, I will try to be better than any other water polo player than has ever set foot in a pool. Another thing that will forever stay engraved in my mind is that the ball used in previous years would always be made out of a pigs stomach. I cannot even fathom what that must have been like, playing with a pigs stomach as a ball. Learning so much about a sport that is my passion only made me realize that I love water polo because of everything that it is. My view on water polo has been changed completely. I did not really delve into the kind of famous figures that participated in water polo in the past because I did not recognize any of them. I hope to someday go down in history as one of the greatest water polo players that ever lived. This extensive research has made be realize that in order to make that dream a reality, I must be willing to work hard every single day without a single excuse. Overall, this research made a significant impact on my life.

Works Cited

Dettamanti, Dante Richard. Understanding Water Polo: A Guide to the Game of Water Polo for Players, Parents, and Fans. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.

Giannouris, Yiannis. “Professional Water Polo DVDs | Water Polo News | Players.” Professional Water Polo DVDs. Water Polo News, n.d. Web. 11 Mar. 2015.

“History of the Game of Water Polo: Collegiate Water Polo Association.” History of the Game of Water Polo: Collegiate Water Polo Association. Collegiate Water Polo Association, n.d. Web. 11 Mar. 2015. 

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