J’s Hospice, one of the Gold Challenge’s charity partners, have had the great idea of organising a series of sporting sessions to enable their Gold Challenge participants to complete their challenge. Yesterday was the turn of water polo so Jon and I went to Chelmsford to join them.
None of us had done water polo before so we started with the basics – how to swim crawl and backstroke when playing water polo. Essentially this involves adapting your usual stroke so that you can your eyes are up and you can see what’s going on around you and so that you can control the ball when you have it.
We then practised throwing the ball before playing our first game. For those who aren’t familiar with water polo, it’s a seven a side game with nets at both ends of the playing area. Much like handball, you score goals by throwing the ball into the net and the team which scores the most goals wins.
Our first game was in shallow water and it was a good beginning – albeit marked on my part by plenty of beginner’s mistakes. We were then deemed ready to go into deep water and it was a very different experience. We started by repeating all the initial exercises and it was extraordinary how much more difficult it was to do everything – even something as seemingly simple as throwing and catching the ball – in deep water.
Next up was a game in deep water and I really began to appreciate how incredibly strong and fit water polo players must be. Even when you’re not actively involved in the play, you’re either swimming into position or treading water and it’s hard core exercise.
We finished with a game back in the shallow pool – a fun end to an excellent evening which had the added benefit that we got to meet fellow Gold Challengers which I always enjoy. Thank you to everyone who helped us to learn water polo and to J’s Hospice!