By Adrianna Castaneda
Waterball has made its way back to ACU campus with a splash.
The intramural office cut the sport from the schedule last year because of injuries and unsportsmanlike conduct. Waterball returned this year with more rules to prevent a repeat of past accidents.
Kenli Edwards, director of intramural sports, said dunking and holding is now a penalty. In the past, players were allowed to dunk opponents in possession of the ball and hold them underwater until they released it.
Players are responsible for reporting any injuries that are not witnessed, such as a bloody nose or busted lip. Injured players should move to the sidelines where referees can see them. All players sign a waiver releasing the school and the intramural office from liability for injuries.
Alia Barnes, sophomore communication science and disorders major from San Francisco, Calif., suffered a shoulder injury in a past game against Sigma Theta Chi. Barnes said she was hurt sometime during the first half but continued to play throughout the game.
Waterball is not unfamiliar territoryÂ for Barnes, who played water polo throughout high school. Before tearing her ACL in the spring of her senior year, she planned to play for Stanford University. Barnes said playing waterball is much easier than water polo, because all players have to do is place the ball on the other side of the pool.
“The difference between waterball and water polo is the sheer fact that people are bred for water polo and people are trained for waterball,” Barnes said.
Hilary Standish, senior psychology major from Austin, plays waterball on the Alpha Kai Omega team and said she fell in love with the sport after watching just one game. Standish said she wished the sport was year-round because it builds community and gets everyone “amped” every year.
Every team plays the sport a little differently. Waterball is an eye opening experience for spectators when they see normally courteous people act in such a violent manner.
Mark Daughdrill, junior psychology major from Cypress, plays in the intramural league on a team he formed with friends. Daughdrill said the difference between a women’s game and a men’s game is the greater ferocity of the women, while the men do not seem to care afterward.
“Some girls, we didn’t know they had the fight in them to keep playing,” Standish said.
Aly Cain, sophomore political science major from Houston, attends a waterball game at least once a week and enjoys cheering on her friends in the water. Cain said the games are intense for the spectators, as well as the athletes.
“If more students knew about waterball coming back to campus this year, there would be more involved outside of social club teams,” Standish said.
She said waterball is an exciting game that keeps the crowd standing in anticipatio. Although it is a rough sport, Standish said there are rarely hard feelings outside the game.
“What happens in the pool, stays in the pool,” Standish said.