Monday, November 08, 2010

Kayak Water What?

A few days ago my brother Tom called me up, more or less out of the blue, with a somewhat strange proposition.  Knowing my wife and I would be in town for my sister's wedding, Tom invited the two of us to join him and several others a game of Kayak Water Polo.  Having only briefly heard of this kind of thing, and not really sure at all what to make of it, I gave him a cautious affirmative and figured I would let the chips fall where they may.  Tom has, apparently, been doing this for a few weeks now and was eager to bring us along for the experience.  I figure it can't hurt to try, so why not give it a shot?

And so last Friday evening I found myself in the swimming area of a local gym, donning a life jacket and helmet with over a dozen other people ranging in age from 13-ish to 50-ish.  There was only one opening for that night's game, so my wife elected to bow out and let me have at it, which turned out fine for her since she got to spend an hour chatting with Tom's wife while their husbands flailed around in a swimming pool in tiny plastic boats chasing a ball with paddles.  I have been for-real kayaking once before, and funyaking on several occasions, but it was nothing like spending an hour paddling my arms off in a somewhat vain effort to chuck a ball through an elevated square goal.  These people were serious about their kayak water polo, dude.  Super friendly, but super hard core too.

Tom and I, T-minus one minute to all heck breaking loose.
For the first 20 minutes or so I did OK, holding my own with the rest of the blue team as we battled it out for aquatic supremacy with the red team.  I was ably paddling back and forth across the pool, chasing down the ball and getting in a few good passes here and there too (the rules are very much like Ultimate Frisbee).  But after that my arms turned to jelly and it was all I could do to just keep up.  David, the proprietor of the Lincoln Kayak Water Polo Club, mercifully switched my place on the blue team with the best guy on the red team, a move that really did even things out for the rest of the game.
It may look like chaos, but really...ok, well, it's chaos.
The object is to toss the yellow ball through
the net. And yes it's harder than it looks  :)
I was by far the most inexperienced person on the field in the pool, but it didn't matter.  I had a great time, and everyone there was super cool about the fact that there was a total n00b playing with them. There was even a young kid (the aforementioned 13-year-old) who was incredibly helpful and encouraging throughout the game.  He continually gave me tips and pointers as we played, and even went out of his way to pass the ball to me a few times too.  I even scored once, but the best part about the whole game was that no official score was kept at all.  It's all played for fun, and even though the players are pretty intense about their game, everyone was really there just to have a good time.
Basically you do this for an entire hour without stopping.
As a bonus, I ran into an old friend afterwards I had not seen in years.  Turns out his wife plays Kayak Water Polo regularly, and he was there to cheer her on.  Imagine catching up with a buddy because of a game of Kayak Water Polo.  That's Lincoln for you.  :)

1 comment:

Nikkidemas said...

Nice blog, Simon! Hope you come back & visit soon for another game. - Ben's fiancée Nikki