Missouri S&T students enjoyed a refreshing break this past Saturday, February 23rd, after a long week filled with the first round of tests. The Student Recreation Center put on an Intramural Inner Tube Water Polo tournament with female-only, male-only, and co-rec teams. With this tournament being a once-a-year event, students were very excited and competitive throughout all of the matches.
Inner tube water polo is an interesting sport, but it is not widely known. Because it is not recognized as its own professional, individualized sport, most people are not familiar with the game. Usually played as a college intramural activity, inner tube water polo is essentially soccer played in water while the players remain in inner tubes. Swimming becomes much more difficult when only the arms and lower legs are available for paddling. This aspect makes the game much more rigorous.
Offense is very tricky in this particular intramural sport because speed is not easily attained. This is due to the difficult swimming conditions. Trying to get in front of a pass is also hard because each player takes up a significant amount of space. It becomes more tiresome to move in a pool when the challenge of maneuvering around ten floating inner tubes with people inside is added. Throwing the ball is also challenging because only one hand is allowed for passing. This makes distance throws difficult. Additionally, because players are not allowed to cradle the ball in any fashion, it has to be carried with one hand above the head. Defense is also a tough aspect of the game because swatting the ball and bumping inner tubes are the only practical ways of defending the goal.
During the February 23rd tournament, students teamed up and prepared for the games while the referees explained the rules. Each player snatched up an inner tube and hopped in the pool in the Student Recreation Center. The rules seemed complex with specific guidelines for how the goalie was allowed to pass and how the ball was to be carried, but once the games began, all the rules clicked and were not challenging to abide by. Although many players were new to the game, everyone was equally competitive and excited to try and win the match. Students developed new strategies for defense and offense by manipulating how many people remained on each side of the pool.
Although the sport may look easy from the stands, it is very exhausting. From sprint swimming to constant tredding, playing inner tube water polo while resitsting the movement of the water becomes exhausting quickly. With two twelve minute halves, players have a long time to be constantly moving. Students who played in the Intramural Inner Tube Water Polo tournament definitely got in a good workout, especially if they competed in multiple games.
Getting out and playing a new sport was good for the students because everyone was laughing and having a good time. Everyone was getting their heart rate up which helps release endorphins to boost happiness. After a difficult academic week, engaging in an interesting and exciting intramural sport decreased stress levels and made students more relaxed and ready to improve their performance in academics in the upcoming week.