Although I had often heard about the violence, competition and unadulterated athleticism, it wasn’t until Tuesday that I had watched my first ever waterball game.
And to be honest, I’m sad I waited this long.
Not only is it an ACU tradition, but it is easily the most exciting spectator sport that intramurals can provide. It has everything any fan looks for in an event: grunting, scoring, scantily clad athletes and a consistent threat of death.
However, just like a freshman waterball team, there is great room for improvement. Here are some simple fixes that I think will elevate the sport:
First, there are the rules. We’ve seen a major rule change this year with the removal of off the ball contact. But the organizers are going about it all wrong. Instead of creating a more strict set of rules, I would like to see the league slowly move towards a more lawless game.
At it’s core, waterball is a rough sport. Nothing I’ve seen in those choppy waters ever even approaches grace. And that’s what we love.
So don’t hinder the players’ primitive pool instincts. Let these savage beasts out of their cage of regulation.
The second major change takes a play out of Harry Potter’s book.
Take the role of the Seeker, then put them in scuba gear and let them fight over a 30 pound dumbbell under water.
The game at sea level will go on as usual, but spectators will be given the added pleasure of watching two students wrestle 15 feet below the surface. Although I don’t think it will ever happen, should one player manage to take control of the weight and maneuver it to their defensive wall it would result in an immediate victory.
This opens the door for a new era of waterball, complete with more complex tactics.
Many of these changes favor creating a more spectator friendly contest and the last is no example.
Currently, us fans are forced onto the second floor to peer down at the action. But as any person who has sat courtside at a sporting event knows, the closer you are to those sweaty, muscular brutes, the better.
Opening up the pool deck to spectators creates a louder and more claustrophobic environment that will (hopefully) lead to more blood thirsty athletes.
And take a hint from Sea World. Plexiglass walls aren’t just for peering into the shark exhibit. They would allow us to watch all the grabbing and punching and tearing that no doubt occurs inches below the top of the water.
Oh, and we’d have a much better angle on the wrestling scuba divers.
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