August 7, 2012
Scott Reed and his son Jeff have traveled from Lilburn to London to attend the 2012 Olympics. Scott Reed is attending his fifth Olympic Games this summer and will blog about his experiences for the Daily Post. His 19-year-old son Jeff, a Killian Hill Christian graduate and Reinhardt University student, will provide photos for the blog. The two will blog throughout the Olympics.
I have heard that water polo is a fun sport to watch, but had never seen it in person until yesterday. I’m glad we saw it!
Jeff and I had 1st row seats, and sat directly in front of some family members of one of the USA team members. That helped, as they were able to help explain some of the rules that wouldn’t be evident otherwise.
Those athletes are in extraordinary shape. They have to continually sprint back and forth in the pool for four quarters of 8 minutes each. When they are not sprinting back and forth, they have to keep themselves as far out of the pool as possible to catch and pass the ball, or defend against shots.
The sport is brutal. It is amazing how much physical contact there is during the action. Players grab each other and kick underwater, elbow, dunk and gouge on a continual basis. Players frequently got dunked and held under water. One USA player, who covers the middle of the defense, was elbowed in the head several times hard enough so that his head snapped back like he was a boxer who had been punched. But he never even looked at his opponent in anger or the officials in protest, indicating to me that it’s all just part of the game. The officials continually blew their whistles, but I am not sure what the point of that is since play never stopped and no one seemed to pay the least bit of attention to the whistles. It’s amazing to me that no one drowns.
We saw two matches, Serbia vs. Romania and USA vs. Hungary. Serbia thoroughly outclassed Romania, and Hungary dominated USA. The game is a cross between basketball and hockey. Comparing it to basketball, there are outside shooters and one main inside shooter that the outside shooters try to pass to for a good close-in shot. The USA inside guy had no chance against his Hungary defender. When he wasn’t under water, he was defended like a wet blanket. The USA players didn’t want to shoot from outside, and they couldn’t get the ball inside, so they didn’t get very many good shots. Hungary won easily.
Sitting in front of the team member’s parents reminded me of my son’s little league baseball and soccer games. The mother was a hoot. Every time Hungary did something good, she made the officials aware that Hungary had cheated. Her son didn’t play enough, and certain other players played too much. I guess parental support is the same at all levels.