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Davis, California

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Best IM Sport: Innertube Water Polo

Fun competition without the usual accompanying physical difficulty

Intramural innertube water polo is a sport that takes the physical effort out of water polo and keeps all the fun, as players adhere to the same rules of a regular water polo game but do so while in their own innertubes. The sport was created at UC Davis and has since spread to other universities. Many organizations on campus and different groups of students form teams to play IM innertube water polo each spring. One organization includes the Welcome Center team, largely comprised of tour guides. 

Molly Doyle, a third-year design major and a current tour guide, said she joined the Welcome Center team for innertube water polo last spring. 

“I was pretty nervous, because I had never been with this group of people in an athletic setting,” she said.

Despite her initial nerves and lack of practices or meeting before the first game, Doyle said the experience ended up being very positive.

“It was super cool, because we all had no experience; it was kind of just like a free-for-all, so it was really fun to get into it,” Doyle said. “It gets pretty competitive, I think Victor and I and Cameron — another tour guide — all really got involved and so we got competitive with it.”

Victor Reyes, a fourth-year biological sciences major and the tour guide who suggested Doyle join the Welcome Center team, described having a lot of fun playing after feeling a “little scared” when first jumping into the pool.

“I had no idea what was going on and as I looked around neither did anyone else,” Reyes said via email. “It was a magical experience and a great sport that students, like myself, can use as a good distraction from school.” 

Like Doyle, Reyes has been a player on the Welcome Center team since his second year — organizing the tour guide team himself. He remembered the successes the team had in the last year.

“The first year I did tube polo, my team and I lost every game except for the ones that we had to forfeit,” Reyes said via email. “However, last season we won most games except for a few against the actual water polo teams.”  

Doyle recounted being on a team with her coworkers as “the best part” of playing the IM sport.

“We interact in a pretty casual setting being tour guides, anyway, but when you get to hang out with them after hours, that was when I got to form a lot of friendships with them outside of work,” Doyle said. “It’s just a cool experience to play with other college students who you wouldn’t normally see and then having that kind of comfort of being with your co-workers as well.”

Reyes echoed this sentiment and said the team was a great way to get to know some of his co-workers that he would have otherwise not spent time with.

“For example, my really good friend Molly, I would have never gotten to know her as well as I do now if it were not for tube polo,” Reyes said via email. 

Both Doyle and Reyes highly recommended other organizations on campus form teams to play if the sport comes back next spring provided that the threat from COVID-19 has been mitigated.

“It’s a great stress relief and during the spring,” Reyes said via email. “Why not try something that you can really only do in college?”

Written by: Sabrina Habchi — features@theaggie.org 


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