Day in the Life: Boys Waterpolo

For the TPHS boys water polo team, game-day rituals start before they even set foot on the pool deck.

“I have two pieces of toast and then a few bowls of cereal,” Captain Jack Mason (11), who begins his ritual upon waking, said.

For James Halpern (10), who has been playing water polo for nine years, it’s a bowl of Frosted Mini-Wheats.

While the team may begin its days individually, the bus ride is where joint rituals commence; sitting in rows, the team listens to their “hype songs.”

“I listen to Spectre by Alan Walker to get ready,” Halpern said.

Once they arrive at the pool, the real work begins.

Depending on when they play, team members either spend their time warming up their muscles by walking around the pool deck or stretching. If they are playing later in the day, many will take the free time to relax by lying down and focusing on their game strategy.

When it’s time to play, the team works together to set up the goals and prepare for their warm-ups.

“We hop in and start warming up by passing and shooting,” Santiago Gonzalez (12) said. “Usually by that time we’re ready to go.”

On the TPHS water polo team, many of the varsity players belong to either the Del Mar Water Polo Club or the La Jolla Water Polo Club. Many of these members have been playing for several years on their competitive club water polo teams, often with the same boys they play with at TPHS.

“A lot of the guys I play school with, I have played club with in the past, so I’ve been around them for years,” Mason said.

Halpern agreed.

“I got really close with a lot of these people over the past nine years,” Halpern, a member of the Del Mar Water Polo Club, said.

Not only has the team enjoyed each other’s company in the water, but they have also bonded with one another and applied lessons of the sport to life outside of the pool.

“Water polo has made me more motivated both in and out of the water to work hard and get work done,” Mason said.

A day in the life of a water polo player is filled with lots of focus and fun; but overall, the friendships made and the lessons learned are truly what each player takes away at the end of every game.

With the amount of time the team spends together in the water, and the rituals they practice as a team, they have created a Falcon family that aids their performance in and out of the water.

The real magic, however, comes after a big victory for the team, when the players celebrate with a team dinner at Oggi’s or McDonald’s — “40-piece and some fries,” Mason said — the final ritual in a day in the life of the boys water polo team.

Photo courtesy of Micheal Sykes.

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