The Woes of Winter Polo


Photo by Andrew Young

Imagine this: underneath your warm, zipped-up parka, you’re wearing one of your 20 water polo related sweatshirts along with your fuzzy Gryffindor pajama pants. There are socks on your feet, your hood is sufficiently covering your ears and your hands are in the pockets of your parka — one gripping your phone and the other touching your swim cap and goggles that should be on your head and covering your eyes.

You look around the pool deck and the lack of steam emitted by the pool is a bit concerning — shouldn’t it be warmer? The few trees on the pool deck are moving too aggressively for your liking. Suddenly, you can’t feel your nose any more as it starts to drip.

It’s almost 6 p.m. and your coach reminds you that there are only two minutes left to get changed. Underneath your sweatshirt and pajama pants is your water polo suit that is yet to be zipped up. Slowly, painfully and almost regrettably, you start to take off your clothes one-by-one. Off goes that parka, then the pants because who needs legs anyway, and then the most excruciating of them, your sweatshirt.

You’re standing on the pool deck ready to jump in, suit zipped, capped up and goggles on, but then you look down. Your socks are still on your feet and a loud, overdramatic groan escapes your mouth. You peel off your left sock, then the right, and wow, the ground is so, so cold, so you run to the edge of the pool and dive in.

Practice is fine. Your shooting is fine, you make a couple of jokes here and there and get shouted at one too many times. And then all of a sudden it’s over. It’s 8 p.m. and time to get out. You swim towards the ladder  and pull yourself high enough for the water level to rest under your chest, but the wind blows and you dip back in, hands and feet in the same spots as before.

Around three minutes pass and you know it’s time to get out. You’re the last one left in the pool, but your towel is all the way on the bleachers and the longer you stare, the farther it seems to appear. You really should get out.

You decide that the faster you run, the quicker you’ll find yourself wrapped up in the dryness of your towel, so you pull yourself up and out and begin to sprint toward the bleacher. You’re basically there but then you fall. You slip. You fly forward and your knees hit the ground, but it’s so cold and your body’s gone numb and the only thing you feel is your face burning from embarrassment. Oh how the mighty have fallen.