Prep Water Polo tour hosted by SACS
Our Boys’ Preparatory Open Polo Team participated with 21 other teams as part of the country’s top water polo festival hosted by South African College Schools (12 - 16 October). Cape Town surprised us all and provided us with three days of fantastic water polo playing weather, never once hiding her majestic mountains and leafy suburbs.
SACS with its beautiful grounds, hospitable staff and polite boys added to each player, coach, manager and parent having made fond memories of sportsmanship, healthy competition, team and individual player achievement, renewed and new friendships and probably most striking, a heightened passion for the game.
Our squad performed superbly well and three particular fixtures against SACS, St. David’s and DPHS confirmed that our polo holds its own against the best that Durban, Cape and Gauteng schools have to offer. With the luxury of hindsight, the key ingredient in each of these games and that of our entire festival was passion.
This passion had a start and was contagious…
It started with our coach Mr. Callum Ford (who himself participated in this tournament as a Boys’ Preparatory and College boy). His passion for the success of our team and the improvement of each boy contributed to the team’s motivation and performance. Passionate coaches, like passionate teachers have an effect on boys achieving. Observing his interaction with the boys it became apparent that there was a positive correlation between Mr. Ford’s passionate coaching style and our teams’ success.
The passion becomes infectious…
The parents who supported the team at SACS and in fact throughout the DPHS tour and local fixture circuit cannot be thanked enough. They have supported the coach, manager and our school polo with passion, pride, enthusiasm and humour. I commend them on the positive role they have had in marketing our school and serving water polo.
The boys are not immune to this polo passion…
Never once (maybe to mom but never to me) did our ten boys complain about early morning training, winter training or early evening training – this momentum was maintained throughout the polo playing season and the off season. The boy’s passion for the game became contagious. Soon parents and Grandparents became “infected’ by their sons’ commitment energy and love for this sporting code which can be compared to the strategy of a chess game, the physicality of a wrestling match and the awe-inspiring action of a seasoned swimmer.
Part of the preparatory polo philosophy is that each boy thinks about his own personal goals, skill level and understanding of individual and team success. The success of this perspective can be measured when we reflect on each of the ten beautiful boys who represented our school at SACS:
Daniel Schmidt – Captain, fetcher, wing, hole man/marker.
“Oh captain, our captain” performed his leadership role with great aplomb. His cool, calm and collected style was enduring; a boy of few words but many actions (in the pool) was selective with his traditional end of match captains thoughts and words. He would listen to Mr. Ford or my thoughts and only offer his thoughts if he felt them relevant. Never one to speak for the sake of speaking. Instead, his leadership was seen in his personal play and desire to play well. As a player he has a tremendous work rate and vision for the game and has a great variation between power shooting and subtle shot selection. He is physical in the appropriate wrestling of an opponent and attacks and defends with equal vigour. Throughout the tournament, “Schmitty” would manage the boys on our whatsapp group directing arrival times, dress code and reminding boys to bring the team caps.
Dan Sguazzin – Vice Captain, fetcher and or wing.
A young boy who is a great encourager, never harsh on performance but quick to offer a team mate a vote of confidence in a particular play or moment in the game. He has the ability to see the positive in everyone and most situations. A thinker on the ball who looks for open spaces. He feeds off the energy of the team. Dan swims with eagerness and can steal a ball with simplicity. A true sport that loves fair play and sets high expectations from himself. Out the pool he is a genuine nice boy who opponents easily engage with.
Kyle Cohead – Fetcher, wing, hole man.
Powerful and full of a high energy work rate. A player who is comfourtable as a specialist in a position or easily adaptable to another position depending on the coaching strategy. A great retriever of the ball who successfully protects his position in a game as well as possession of the ball. Kyle is capable of scoring goals and making goals. He is very reactive to the flow of a game. Together with “Schmitty” they can be destructive on attack as they have developed an instinctive awareness of each other in the pool. His defensive effort is equal to his attack. High team expectations and personal standards are the font of his polo passion.
Matthew Finger – Hole man marker
A player with the most beautiful egg beater leg action, strong hip position and a great defensive record. Matthew is one of the most improved players in the squad. Often having had to defend some very large and physical boys in a position of the pool that calls for speed and physical stamina a calm head, quick reaction time and a calm disposition. His position is associated with kick-outs and he knows when and when not to be kicked out. Matthew has also added a wonderful long accurate pass to his playing repertoire. Furthermore, he is astute as to when he needs to attack from his position upsetting the rhythm of our opponents and adding some extra bite to our attack.
Luca Imbriolo – Fetch or wing.
An all round Mr. Nice guy. A true gentleman who never has a negative comment about our team or any opponent. A boy who can reflect a disposition of: “winning as if we have lost and loose as if we have won” a truly humble sportsman who maturely concedes better skill on a day. Luca reflects 100% commitment and will never question the coaching or strategy of a game. When he has to be substituted his body language never reflects his disapproval but instead he will come sit on the bench and encourage his team eagerly waiting to re enter the game. A player when shooting has found the cross bar or keeper more often than the rest of the team. However, he surprised us all with some much needed cheeky lob shots during the tournament. True to his unselfish manner, Luca sets up many goal scoring opportunities for others in the team.
Ryan Cooper – Goalie
A true shot stopper. Many times his quick reactions not only saved certain goals but provided the crowd with some defensive entertainment. His leg strength is developing and his water treading to enlarge his size in front of goals is greatly improved. “Cooper” has learnt the value of slowing the game down and looking for the correct attack launching pass. As a true keeper his mental disposition is mature not letting a goal conceded deter his efforts to keep a clean sheet. Ryan is a vocal “bird in the cage” goalie who uses his position in the pool to direct the boys into attack or to return on a player to defend. He continually motivates and encourages each boy. Out the pool he has a quick wit and contributes to the humour that the team enjoys.
Rhys Schipholt – Hole man
Together with Sean, they have rotated the position of hole man. Rhys has a no nonsense approach to his position. His long lumbering arms reach which at times in the clash with the opponent’s hole man marker yields some surprising ball retrieval. At times when he was appeared to be dominated by his opponent, his grit and never give up attitude served him well and he was able to surface ball in hand or be placed strategically between the opponents goalie, hole man marker and our attackers. Rhys entered the tournament caring a nasty arm injury. Not even the fifteen stitches wound would deter him from playing – further testimony to his tenacious temperament. On the bench, Rhys proved both entertaining and humorous. A boy who lives life fully and at a fast pace. He does not sweat the small stuff but totally enjoys the moment. In the pool we knew where he was, out the pool he kept us on our toes. Rhys and Coops kept us entertained and added some much needed humour to keep our moral and energy level up as we sat poolside from 07:30 – 18:30.
Sean else – Hole man
“Seanie” a boy with the proverbial heart of gold. A young man who loves his team and the game. He will be the first to sacrifice his own play for another boy. He is indeed a gentle giant. Built more for power not speed, he has a shot that when wound up is powerful and can stretch the back of a net. Sean always has a smile on his face. His authentic bubbly personality and excellent manners ensures that boys seek out his company. Sean conducted his adult interaction with an EQ beyond his years. A positive and upbeat player who was never down for long. Sean would replay just as passionately to coaching shouts of instruction of “Sean legs - legs Sean!” with equal measures of “yes sir yes sir”.
Kieran Nash – Wing or fetch.
Kieran conducted himself with patience and calmness. His reserved out of pool manner is equal to his bench attitude. He would never complain as to when he will play. Instead selected the time given to play to share his improved playing ability. I respected his contributions as often he would be called upon to play in a fast flowing game and he would be expected to match this tempo instantaneously. Kieran became one of our super subs and worked to ensure we retrieved position of the ball when we lost it. On attack, he was unselfish with his shooting position and would be perceptive enough to pass to a player who has a greater chance of scoring. His wing or fetch play served the team well.
Ryan Nicholson Wing or fetch.
Our second super sub. Together with Kieran he added much needed support to the team. His introduction to games also came at times when he did not have the luxury of starting the tempo but having had to adjust to an intense pace. Ryan would swim his heart out, always working, never giving up on defense. The amount of pool covered by him was impressive. A small boy with a large heart. His determination is commendable and his performance consistent. With Ryan, what you see is what you get. Good boy Great Saint.
This magic band of water polo brothers is all moving up to our College, I am confident that they will continue their polo passion and I look forward to hearing about their future polo success.
It appears I am not immune to this polo passion. Thank you boys for your contagious actions.
Mr. Q Pascoe
MIC Preparaory Water Polo