At 10 p. m. most weeknights the majority of Oberlin students can be found hunched over computers or hovering around the reserve room. In the deep end of the Robert K. Carr pool, vicious screams, athletic grunts, and other forms of verbal intimidation let it be known that some students have found other ways to spend their evenings and expend their energy.
Water polo is not a game for the weak of heart and bears no relation to the childhood game Marco Polo. Senior Eric Nordstorm, co-captain of the team said, "We have 25 people on the roster. We had 30 before people realized how brutal it was."
After practice, players shake hands in out-of-game civility with team members they tried to submerge minutes ago in an intense scrimmage. Team member first-year Sarah Titus said, "People do vicious things underwater." Wild tales are told of suits being stripped off and destroyed during rough play and team members inspect each other's scratches, bumps, and bruises in respectful admiration.
Water polo is described by team members as being a cross between soccer, because the goals are similar, basketball due to the parallels between offense, hockey, since it's so rough, and lacrosse, because players cradle the ball as they move toward the goal.
Four nights a week, the team works on skills and run scrimmages. Team member first-year Julie Chor said, "Practices aren't mandatory, but hard-core people come regularly." Most players are weathered swimmers from the Oberlin swim teams, keeping in shape and having a little fun out of season.
Oberlin had its first contest Wednesday against Akron and lost 21-16. Nordstorm said, "Akron is the best team we've ever played in Ohio. They had a few players from national water polo teams and from really big schools. Physically, we were a little outgunned. We came out strong but died near the end."
Oberlin was up at half time, 12-8. For the last two eight-minute periods, however, Akron muscled its way to a victory, almost tripling the score. On top of their scoring frenzy, they put in another goalie who stopped almost everything Oberlin threw his way.
Nordstorm is already thinking about the rest of the season. He said, "We're looking to play four separate games and holding a tournament on our own when we are planning on playing at least five local teams."
Most teams they will play are co-ed. Oberlin's aqua-warriors boast three women. Nordstorm said, "Some teams only have token women. Ours are vicious."
Saturday, the water polo team takes on Kent State University. Nordstorm said, "We look to do better against Kent State than Akron." The event takes a.m. in Carr Pool.
Copyright © 1996, The Oberlin Review.
Volume 124, Number 18; March 15, 1996
Contact Review webmaster with suggestions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact Review editorial staff at email@example.com.