We don’t understand why some of the small heads dip down under the water when opponents get near. We don’t understand why players swim hard but stay in the same spot in the pool. We don’t see the wounds that the swimmers have when they retreat from the pool. Observers do notice the attitudes that the players get during and after the game. Darryn Penry, senior, said “It’s a really rough sport.”

“It’s a fun and very challenging sport and that’s why I like it,” said Penry. The sport that he speaks of is water polo.

A relatively unknown sport that has finally returned to Stagg after a large crack decommissioned the old pool.The object of the sport is to score in the goal and defend against the opposing team. It is like a mixture of basketball and soccer all in the pool. There are a total of seven players on one team. One person is a goalie and the other six are field players. All six move up and down the pool like basketball but the tactics are more like soccer where one player sets up the others and pass a lot to find weak points in the defense. When they get a chance, they pass and shoot. And hope to score.

Penry got into the sport because of a cousin that told him about how much contact that it has. Even if people don’t see it. Penry recalls one of his cousin’s stories in particular, “He said one guy on his team got into a fight and had to have four stitches in his left shoulder.” Penry remembers that his cousin said how the player from his team got a nail deep into his shoulder.

When it comes to the sport many of these normally illegal maneuvers are concealed by the water. Underwater the referee can’t see. Penry said that underwater he kicks, shoves and jabs at his opponents. Other people get away with grabbing and pushing people, and some can choke and throw elbows along with pulling the person’s cap.

“One time in a game against McNair some guy elbowed me in the face,” Penry recalled, “I elbowed him back and pushed him underwater.” One of the only things that stops players from basically killing one another is the referee. Even though they may not see everything that lies under the surface they can see when people do get beat up and pushed underwater.

When asked what is done to make the game a little more safe he said that the referees do check nails to make sure that they are not extra long to scratch people and the referees do keep the rules strict to make sure that safety is a priority. But like Penry said “It’s a really rough sport.”