Water polo is certainly not the sport you see being covered on sports center, so often times people really don’t know much about the game itself. Since I have been in college at Siena I have learned that most people from the east coast don’t know much about the sport. The game is very competitive throughout California, which is why many of my teammates come all the way from the Golden State to play the game. I am from Chicago, and while there is a growing presence of the sport throughout the Midwest, water polo still seems to be a close-knit sport at home.
The game is typically played in an all deep pool that measures 25 meters in length. There are six field players and a goalie in the pool per team. The game last about an hour with 4 periods that usually run eight minutes long. Each team has a 35 second shot clock during their possession, similar to basketball. The object of the game is similar to most sports, you have to shoot the ball on your opponents goal to score. However, one caveat that surprises most people is that the ball can only be thrown with one hand, and if you use two hands to throw the ball it results in a turnover. There are common fouls that can be drawn to allow the offensive player a free pass. An ejection results when a defensive player takes the advantage away from an offensive player, this can happen through a number of different moves. An ejection results in a 15 second exclusion of the defensive player (for the hockey fans it is similar to being sent to the penalty box, minus the missing teeth, usually). The game is fairly fast paced and requires intense focus and reliance on intuition. For some sports, teams are able to play with one or two star players and do alright, but the sport of water polo necessitates all seven individuals to be highly involved in order to be successful.