Beijing’s 2008 Olympics, the event’s official Web site tells us, will run Aug. 8-24. Olympic water polo will run Aug. 9-23. But will the teams get to the appointed venues at the appointed times?
OK, so we’re being facetious, here. But at the high school level, the sport has problems that have nothing to do with the action in the pool. Postponed matches, changed times, games canceled (or occasionally added) with no notification beyond the team members. Schedules sometimes seem meaningless.
A few years ago, a coach of another sport called high school water polo a "logistical nightmare." He added that if he had been a water polo coach, he would not have lasted half a season.
Admittedly, things have improved since then. But the logistical mish-mash monster reared its ugly head at a school that shall remain nameless when those in charge took it on themselves to start with the varsity matches and follow with the JV instead of following the usual girls-boys pattern of varsity-JV-varsity-JV. Sadly, coverage had been planned in advance, and an opportunity to cover at least one potentially great varsity match was lost.
At its best, water polo is soccer in H2O, blending art with athleticism. Having covered an international match once many years ago, I can say the sport is action-packed and exciting. I’ve seen some good high school matches over the years, as well. But the sport’s logistical problems can drive some of us up a wall and down a creek.