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Campus Life

Fear to fun, the intramural jitters

as published in The Gazette, October 22, 2013
By Bradley Metlin

The last sport I played, outside of gym class, was in seventh grade when I played dodgeball at the local community centre. It is for that reason that I am so unsure as to why I decided to be a good residence soph and participate in my floor's intramural team.

Inner tube water polo was the sport, and whoever conceived of this idea has a horrible sense of humor. You sit in an inner tube, lazy river style; you're barely mobile but it's expected that you'll go back and forth in a pool and score goals.

I arrived at the rec centre with my team about an hour before our first game (my soph partner thought some strategizing and observing time would serve us well). As I stood there in the gallery, staring at a game in progress, I'll be honest - there was a little bit of pee running down my leg. These people were intense! They were rocketing through this pool and they all looked like the type of people in fitness magazines. I would later learn this was one of those "ultra-competitive" leagues.

It was time to head to the pool so we walked to the change rooms, like lambs to the slaughter. When we dipped into the pool and got on our inner tubes, I soon realized it was next to impossible to use your legs - you pretty much had to move using the strength of your arms (which led me to panic more because I have spaghetti-sized arms.) After a few minutes in the pool, my team seemed to be grasping how to move. Even I was surprising myself.

So the team we were playing finally arrived and they looked like us for the most part - this was good sign. The game started and I managed to use my muscle barren arms to propel me all the way to being the first person to grab the ball in the middle of the pool. Unfortunately for me, this is where my burst of athleticism began to dissipate. The team we were playing clearly had some sort of inner tube water polo training prior to this game because they started kicking our ass.

At halftime, we were down 4 - 7. We realized that we needed to pass more and we had to aim and shoot at nearly the same time. It wasn't about the power behind the shot, more the strategic aim.

As the second half began, we started working as a team and talking to one another and I have to say, the turnaround was fantastic. For instance, we began to pass more, getting it up the length of the pool instead of trying to whip it to the other side. We were even getting more aggressive - in my case, a little too much. I ended up getting a penalty for blatantly flipping someone out of their tube. Whoops.

As I watched on the sidelines, with two minutes left in the game, we were down 9 - 12. I cheered my team on and hoped for the best. In those two minutes, we tied it up. We were so proud of ourselves, we jumped into the pool and carried on as if we won.

It was during this celebration (which would have been unsportsmanlike had we won) that I realized what working as a team really meant - we worked hard, rallied as a team and had fun. Winning feels awesome but coming from behind does too. Inner tube water polo is a fun experience and I can't wait for the rest of the "season."

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