Thursday, January 04, 2007

The sport that doesn't get cancelled

The swollen clouds overhead looked like they could barely contain what had to be a great lake's worth of water up there.

And some of us at The Tribune wondered if the prep girls water polo tournament at Arroyo Grande High was going to be postponed or canceled.

"Pshht, please," I thought in my best Ozzie Guillen impression.

While sports editor Melissa Geisler offered to call ahead to make sure I wasn't driving out to A.G. for nothing, I declined and hopped in my car.

To no surprise, when I got to the Eagles' new swimming complex (which is quite nice by the way), howling wind was threatening to blow over canopies, the No. 2 graphite clouds hung menacingly ...

... and the girls were in the pool warming up.

In case you didn't know, neithern rain, nor sleet, nor snow — nothing can stop water polo.

Not even lightning canceled a game a few years ago, Arroyo Grande coach Steven Allen said. It was interrupted by a couple of 30-minute thunderstorm breaks, but 2 1/2 hours after the game started, it was in the books.

"I've seen pretty bad hail," Allen said, "going in hard where it kind of looks like snow."

And because this is how they do it in the CIF-Southern Section, the girls get it worst. They play in the winter while the boys play in the fall.

Eagles junior Erin Higginbotham acted as if the dark skies were business as usual, even calling it "perfect water polo weather." But she can't deny scampering straight from the post-game handshake over to the Arroyo Grande changing room.

"It gets pretty miserable," Atascadero coach Mitch Stafford said. "I don't know how the girls do it. Guys, it's like board shorts and sandals all season."

They play in the wind. They play in the fog. Water polo versus the hurricane? I'll take water polo.

1 comment:

Glenn Martin said...

You got it right about playing in miserable weather. Luckily, most of the time the weather is great. . . cold, but great. However, you did miss the fact that AG beat SLO 3-2 in their league game on Wednesday. The tornado-force winds must have kept you away from that game.

Thanks for the great coverage of this growing sport.