Last night, Friday night too, I joined a game of pick up water polo.
It was hard. As hard as you would expect if you were doing one of the three following activities non-stop: sprinting, kicking as hard as you can vertically while lifting at least one arm out of the water, or more or less wresting some other guy for position.
The other players meet regularly for two hours on Friday and Saturday nights. There was Boris and Zima — easily two of the best players, they had been boyhood friends in Serbia before reuniting in Northern Virginia as adults. Boris played in the “hole” most all night and just when he looked like he was going under for the 10,000th time, someone would pass him the ball and he would score. There was Brian the former Division I swimmer and water polo player who took it upon himself to demonstrate the finer arts of pushing off, holding, grabbing and general abuse by matching up against me, often. There was a father-son combination and a whole cast of other characters. Water polo guys are a motley bunch — aggressive and hard in the pool and friendly and quick with a smile out of the water.
It didn’t match any training. In the cycle, I shouldn’t have done it this week — my recovery week. However, it was great fun. It was a tremendous workout. My neck and shoulders are sore. And there is no doubt that if I find myself in traffic during an open water swim, it is nothing compared to the feeling of being in the mix with a bunch of guys who know how to play polo.