DES MOINES –
Water Polo, believe it or not it’s actually one of the oldest Olympic sports, having been in every Olympics since 1900. Now it’s pretty simple, six on six plus a goalie. The object, get the ball in the back of the net. But some have called this *the* toughest water sport around. But before I dive in, let’s find out a little more about the Des Moines Polo Bears!
“Water polo started in des Moines back in 1963-64,” says Chris Bakkie of the DSM Polo Bears.
Chris is one of the leaders of the club, and has been playing water polo since the early 70’s!
“It is a great sport and one you can play your whole life, I’m 61 and I’m still playing.”
Also playing with him, his son James.
“It’s been a cool tradition to go on tournaments together, we travel together,” said James Bakkie. “I took over his position a couple of years back and now I’ve helped take over the reins as captain and to help run the team a little bit into the new, new atmosphere, new team, new era I guess.”
And since, the club has seen a big growth in younger members.
“The majority of our team here is probably under 40,” said James. Five to ten years ago, that was not the case. So we’re really growing, we’re really adding to the team and 30s and 40s is kind of the age we like. I mean this is what we do, we don’t play baseball, we don’t play basketball, we don’t do that, we play water polo.”
So, what can I, who’s never played water polo before expect?
“It is aerobically aggressive.”
“It is a shock to your system.”
“You really gotta concentrate when you’re playing because if you don’t, you’re going to choke and drown.”
They weren’t kidding! Just treading water is tough if you don’t know the proper eggbeater kick, so trying to score was out. How about goalie? Not much better, I did make a save, but even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while. They took it easy on me; it could’ve been a lot worse.
“I feel like I’ve been working out for 90 minutes, I’ve been in the pool for maybe 10.”
It is definitely *not* as easy as these guys make it out to be, but for those looking for a challenge and a workout, there’s always room for more.”
In Des Moines, Jordan Furbee Local 5 Sports, We Are Iowa.”
For more information on the Des Moines Polo Bears and how you can join, visit their website: