Water polo – A state of survival

Lets kick this article off with a very simple question. What came first a player, or a coach? In this instance we are talking about a water polo player and a water polo coach.

In a lot of ways sport teams are like a rock band. The singer thinks its all about his voice and his persona. The guitar thinks its all about its riffs and solos. The drummer thinks its all about his rhythm and beats. That’s normal. Every group goes through this phase and later they realize that they need each other and everybody finds their own note within the bands symphony. They realize that no matter how loud or subtle a certain note is, in a bigger picture they all play equally important roles. Just on account of that bond a band could create a whole corporation around their music. A bond between certain musicians is so potent that it can create and maintain multiple jobs for decades.

Difference between a team and a band is that in order to deal with their issues, egos and childhood diseases a certain band usually has a lot more time then a sports team does. A change of cast is possible within a team, as it is within a band, but yet again the musicians have a lot more time to workout their issues. A sports team doesn’t have that luxury. Common sense portrayal of windows of opportunities and time possibilities, within which a player could make an impact within his chosen sport to improve his own life situation, was always seen as a very short and very fast ending one, with a high chance of injury shortening these windows even more.  At least that is the popular opinion of the majority of the people, and what the majority of the people think usually gets accepted and considered as the truth within a certain society and/or culture. I think that we can all agree that usually the coaches have a lot more time to be coaches then the players have to be players.

But lets take it way back for a second here. Let me ask you one simple question. What do you think came first. Hierarchy, or authority, and could we even separate these two ideas? What allows one to have a feel of authority? Are these vectors internal, or external? Does experience, or knowledge give someone the right to take a place of authority on certain subjects? Is hierarchy just an externally forced chain of command, or an inner need for structure? Lets all agree that just by accomplishing some type of hierarchy, within a certain sport, is a success in itself. There are levels to life and there are levels to a sport. Over the course of the previous century the natural osmosis of sports within our society gave coaches almost parent-like qualities and expectations. Do these qualities have anything to do with the authority a certain coach is perceived to have and deserve? Is authority alone enough to climb the hierarchy? Is it possible that someone can have more authority in a certain sport, but be lower on an imaginary pyramid and why is that? Does authority on one field have any credibility in some other field? Are hierarchies and authorities between amateur and professional sport entities different?

If you were to ask Michael Jordan the players are those who win and the organizations have something to do with it. It might have been a full corporate and athletic effort, but the Chicago Bulls players were the frontmen of that organization. The fans breached the matrix and made an emotional connection to the tune that these artists have played. I am not saying that all those meetings and office work did not played a certain integral role in the whole story. All I am saying is that the fans made a connection with those players. Period.

Allegedly things are a bit different inside of the amateur sports. And by amateurs I mean any education related or state funded sport situations. On this side of the sports world things are a bit different. Try to wrap your heads around this fact. Pugilistic boxing, or Prizefighting under the Queensbury Rules, is older then amateur boxing. Some people say that boxing, or just fighting in general, was/is the first sport ever. But what is fighting? A state of fighting is one of those rare moments when ideology and biology have nothing to do one with another. Try to understand this reality where nobody cares how you feel and what you think, but they only care for what you do. That is the essence of every sport, water polo included. In their ideology, within our societies, amateur sports are supposed to be a fun-like imitation of life’s harshness and brutality. Youth amateur sports are used as a tool of preparation. Basically every time you see two puppies, of any species, play-fighting under their mothers/coaches caring eye, is what youth amateur sports represent within the animal kingdom.  Let us not exclude the adults amateur sports which are are intellectually the lineal successors of the Ancient Greek philosophers and as an example for their communities they continue to carry within them that Mens sana in Corpore sano way of living. Its a little bit different within the realm of professional sports. Unsheltered from real life harshness and brutality the professionals of a certain sport have to endure a lot more on and off the playing field. In Ancient Rome the Emperor gave the thumbs up. Now the fans are those who give the thumbs up, or down. The fan is the Emperor now and everybody, players included, put their financial existences on the line. I hope we can all agree that the coaches are, and should be, seen as the frontmen/women in amateur sports. They are the ones that should use their own example to teach their players how to deal with certain life situations. And I hope that we can all agree that within professional sports whoever the fans want to see as their frontman should always be seen as their frontman, or frontwoman.

How does a sport start? Does a sport get invented, or created? Is it a work of predetermined ingenuity, or a work of art? Is it a spark, or a combination? Could we witness a birth of a sport? Is there a minimal number of rules a sport should have?  How do we define the central thought process by which in the future the rules of a certain sport are going to be reevaluated and adjusted? Can a sport always be evolving, but never changing? What is the meaning of sport? Does a sport have to have a purpose? Does a sport stop to exist? Can we witness a death of a sport?

There were sports since time immemorial. At certain points in time some of them were organized and then the history happened. The latest revival of sports in human history has a lot to do with the industrial revolution of the 1850s. I don’t know how, I am just guessing here. At this point I do hope that you all understand that all of this is just my opinion. If you disagree, feel free. We should still be able to coexist. Anyways. The industrial revolution of the 1850s saw one plant based industry getting slowly banned worldwide and the rise of a few other situations. Few new industries, few new big companies, few new big families, first few newspapers, few new social classes. Less of the old European aristocracy and less of their royal courts where during the medieval and enlighten times most of the sport-like events took place. The social aspect of the world has been turned upside down and amateur sports fitted perfectly into this new post-Dickensian world and mold.

Throughout history within different societies and cultures the sports were seen as a way to “cheat” the system. Change your fortunes and your stars as Chaucer, a fan of jousting, might say. That is if you had the peoples. First it takes the peoples to build a system that the sport can “cheat” and defeat in front of the witnessing fans. Did sport exist between people which didn’t have developed social structure? What does it even mean to have a developed social structure? Some theories say the Ancient Egypt few thousands BC was the pinnacle of the human kind as a civilization and that ever since then our species has been downgrading. Is that the truth I don’t know, but some people with a lot of more finished universities and titles to their names say so. So who am I, a college dropout, to question their arguments and their thesis? I guess we can all agree that sports help you change your destiny only within your own society. There never existed two tribes who decided to fight for a piece of the land by playing sports. David and Goliath didn’t play no hide and no seek. A football game on a Christmas day never ended no war. Ancient Greeks used the sports as a tool of peace and ancient Romans used it as a tool of entertainment. Aztek peoples also played some organized sports which are now not being organizedly played anymore. The concept of Modern sports together with the Olympics was accepted just as the old colonial empires were losing grips on their colonies. Not so ancient Cold War participants used sports as a tool in their political schemes. Were sports made to stand independently? Could a sport exist on its own? Have sports ever had their own sovereignty? Can a sport be above the times, but still resonate within them? Could some sports just exist and then different cultures and societies discover them over and over again?

I hope that we can all agree that before coaches, and before players, and before amateur sport, and before professional sport, and before the fans came… the Love for the Game and having fun while playing it. Never forget that there are those who just love the game for what it is and for what it represents to them. Sport, just like life, is an individual experience. Team is an individual experience shared with others. We all play it for different reasons, but we all love it. Love is giving back. Love is sacrificing. Love is all enduring. And with Love is how a sport survives and continues. Love your sport and give back to your sport. My name is Tomo Bujas and thank you for reading.