Phew…between the M.I.A.A. water polo championships and a few Ravens functions, it’s gonna be a hectic weekend.
It all begins on Saturday with the M.I.A.A. water polo championships, which will be held at the US Naval Academy this year. FINALLY we get to play in an all-deep pool (I’m sure the 3 or 4 of you out there who actually follow water polo know what I’m talking about).
We’ll be fighting for pool time with a college water polo tournament, so if you’re a water polo fan (and if you’re a Towson resident, you SHOULD be a fan by now considering the high level of play from Calvert Hall and Loyola), Annapolis is the place to be this weekend. Also representing the M.I.A.A. this weekend will be McDonough, Gilman, Mt. St. Joe, and John Carroll.
In the water polo world, California is our Mecca. Analogously, Cali is to water polo as Baltimore is to the lacrosse world. But thanks to hard work from Don Anderson, Keith Schertle, and Pat Underwood (among MANY others), the M.I.A.A. is gaining tons of national respect.
I’m proud to say that Calvert Hall has dominated this league, as well as most of the East Coast (we have a heated rivalry with a high school in Greenwich, CT). Since I was a senior on the varsity squad in the fall of 2003, Calvert Hall did not lose a single conference match, even to the Dons, who usually play the Cardinals annually in the state championship game.
But this past Tuesday, Loyola broke the 19 game losing streak, beating CHC for the first time in almost 6 years and embarassing the Cardinals in their own pool, which effectively set the stage for this weekends’ championship match-up in Annapolis, where Calvert Hall will look to earn their 8th straight state title.
And if you think these games are stupid because water polo is not a “first-tier” high school sport, try attending a game or two at CHC or Loyola next season or make the trip down to Annapolis this weekend…and good luck finding a seat. The stands are always packed.
The students come with cowbells and bass drums, chests painted in school colors, and an energy level that rivals any other championship game. The atmosphere would be the equivalent to a high school arena football game if such a thing existed .
The players tread water (for 45 minutes…straight), punch, kick, elbow, wrestle, swim (on AVERAGE about 2 miles per game in an all-out sprint), pass, shoot, defend, strategize…it really is a fun game to watch so I hope some of you can make it out. If you’ve never seen a water polo game up-close, I can promise you that you will be pleasantly surprised.
After coaching the JV aquabirds in the championship game, I’ll rush from Annapolis back up to M&T Bank Stadium, where Jonathon Ogden’s pre-Ring of Honor party will be held on Saturday night. We will be celebrating the career of #75, arguably the best football player to ever wear the purple and black. A sure-fire hall of famer and an all-around great guy, Ogden deserves every ounce of praise he receives.
I hope to see some of you there! It should be a fun event. The Ravens really know how to throw a party, so if you have a chance to go, don’t pass it up. If I remember to bring a camera, I’ll be sure to post pictures on WNST.net the next day.
Then Sunday arrives. I’ll probably find a way to put some things together and find my way back to the stadium Sunday morning to see the Ravens turn Raider black and silver into black and blue. I always try to make an appearance at the tailgates with my friends, even if I don’t have a ticket. Chances are I’ll either find one or find a legit excuse (i.e. work or school) to catch a ride back home. Half the fun of gameday is the tailgate anyway…watching the game at home ain’t half bad.
Enjoy the weekend, enjoy the Ravens win, try to make it down to Navy to see some top-flight water polo, and I’ll talk to you on Monday. And don’t forget to give me your predictions for the Ravens/Raiders game!