Inner tube water polo is in high demand

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    By Kurt Jensen

    Every winter the use of the inner tube as sports equipment increases dramatically as the snow falls and people grab them to go sledding, but in intramural sports they are used for a very different purpose.

    Inner tube water polo is quickly becoming one of the most popular intramural activities offered during the winter semester. Teams sit in inner tubes as they navigate around the swimming pool trying to get the ball and score a goal.

    “There are 54 teams this year. That”s up from last year because so many teams wanted to play,” said Phil Kelly, director of intramural activities. “It”s certainly not hard to fill the schedules. They sell out fast.”

    The 54 teams aren”t even enough to fill the demand. Kelly said they would have more teams if they had more facilities available.

    The problem is they have to share the pool with regular swimmers, so they are only able to play on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

    This sport is offered as a co-ed activity. Each team has seven players, including a goalie and an equal number of men and women in the other six positions.

    Some general rules of inner tube water polo as explained on the intramural website are that the game has two 15 minute halves, players must be sitting in their tubes while playing, and players can only hold the ball for only five seconds before they must either pass or shoot.

    Other rules include no dumping players off their tubes, no splashing, no pushing off the swimming pool walls, and no holding the ball under water.

    Adjustments are made on some rules to make play fair and safe for both men and women. The goalie must be male and cannot wear glasses. Goals scored by a man are worth one point and those scored by women are worth two.

    So, what makes this sport one that so many people want to play?

    Kelly said he thinks it is because it is coed, which makes it a fun social sport, and with the use of inner tubes, it is a sport most anyone can play.

    “The comment I hear is that it”s just a lot of fun,” Kelly said.

    Peter Dickson, 22, a junior from Tigard, Ore., majoring in construction management, started playing when he first got to BYU.

    “I played water polo in high school and when I came to BYU my older brother already had a team, so I started playing with him,” he said.

    After his brother graduated Dickson kept the team going. This is their sixth year as a team and their team name is the Pirates.

    Dickson said the most enjoyable part of playing was all that goes on along with the actual game.

    The team hangs pirate flags and puts temporary tattoos of pirates on their arms.

    Also, he said he enjoyed the atmosphere in which they play.

    “We always have a real big cheering squad,” he said. “It”s just fun because we”re with brothers and friends.”

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