Ray Lewis Doesn't Know Water Polo

KT Tape is proud to sponsor USA Water Polo, a sport that shouldn’t be taken lightly.  These athletes play one of the most physically demanding sports around.  Anyone who has questioned the physical prowess of water polo players obviously just don’t know anything about the sport and how brutal it can be.  This article written by Greg Mescall (the associate director of communications for USA Water Polo) was recently featured on the New York Times NFL blog, The Fifth Down. Ray Lewis Doesn’t Know Water Polo: Adam Krikorian, the United States women’s water polo coach, texted me to ask if I had seen Ray Lewis’s comment about water polo in advance of the Baltimore Ravens’ game against the Jets on Monday. I immediately hit the Internet to find this line among a whole mess of classic Lewis quotes: “But we don’t need no hope. Y’all can keep your hope because we’ve got enough hope over here. We’re packing our bags, and we’re not packing our bags to come play water polo.” With all due respect to the luggage industry, what I get out of this is that Ray Lewis thinks water polo is easy. We know otherwise. Ray Lewis has distinguished himself as one of the greatest linebackers in the N.F.L. over his storied playing career. Now his career as a water polo player, that is something I’d like to see. Water Polo isn’t super popular … yet. We realize that, and we’re working on it. But those who know about the game, the 100,000-plus athletes around the country competing and the rest of the people playing all over the world, understand one thing — it isn’t easy.??Take Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Dhani Jones, who played water polo with one of the top clubs in Europe, in Dubrovnik, Croatia, for his reality show. Or Dallas Mavericks point guard Jason Kidd, who told me at the 2008 Olympics that he once took part in a water polo practice with the California Bears men’s team back in college; he said it was brutal. As one reporter described the sport, water polo is “boxing plus sprinting plus basketball plus wrestling — with no floor beneath your feet.” Sounds about right. In California high schools, it’s not uncommon for the girls varsity water polo team to challenge the football team to a game of water polo … and win. I don’t want to make the game sound impossible  because it isn’t true; I just want to make it sound harder than football. That said, we have kids as young as 5 years old who start playing the game. But if I said it was something that anyone could jump off his or her couch and do, well, then I’d be lying. It’s worth noting I’m not good at either of these sports, and until shallow-end pool basketball heats up, you won’t be hearing much about me. It’s why I work on a computer and find Ray Lewis quotes on the Internet. But the big difference between our two games — aside from those pesky million-dollar salaries, national television contracts and packed stadiums — is that this is water polo, and there is nothing else like it. So Ray, we welcome you to come play water polo — after the season, of course. Pack lightly; it’s a long time to stay above water. Click here for a video of what 3-time Water Polo Olympian and starting center for Team USA Ryan Bailey had to say about Ray Lewis’ comment. For more on USA Water Polo visit their website here.

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