Thursday, March 29, 2007

Now here's a sport that doesn't require expensive sneakers...

Check out this Sun-Times article titled, "Water polo making splash among African Americans".

Yup you don't need any Air Jordans in a swimming pool. Julian High School a very nice school on 103rd Street just off I-57 (the only expressway without a name strangely enough) and it's just off some railroad tracks. Namely the Metra Rock Island line which runs along Vincennes Avenue.

So this story caught my attention and normally I could just let the story be seen by you in the links provided in the feed, but today I'll give you a treat. Show that our young people are doing some interesting things. They play water polo.

Four Julian seniors played their first home water polo game Wednesday against Gage Park at West Pullman Park District, the place where the foursome picked up the sport as youngsters.

Two sets of twins, Marvin and Marvell Rudd and Jerrel and Jarral Elam, are on Julian's first-ever water polo team. A fifth senior, Stanford Wallace, was absent from the home opener. All of the players are African-American.

"A lot of people don't know about water polo, but I'd prefer to do water polo over [sports like] baseball or football," Marvin Rudd said. "I want us to represent to African Americans, especially since we've been working so hard."
"[West Pullman swim coach] Danny Prear got me started, and at first I didn't like it because it was hard," said Rudd, who started playing water polo in sixth grade. "[As a freshman], I went right out for the swim team. There were a lot of us who already knew how to play. We've been trying to get a water polo team at Julian since our freshman year. Everybody loves this game."
You know I remember that during the debate over the Olympics in Chicago, west side leaders wanted to have an Olympic size swimming pool on that side of town. Well this article touches upon the fact that there aren't many pools in black neighborhoods...

Coach Linnea Garrett said it took about three years for Julian to get the team started after this year's group of seniors entered the South Side school four years ago.

"I think a lot of our seniors have wanted this since their freshman year," Garrett said. "But to find the resources and dedication to it took about three years from all levels. I didn't realize they had played water polo and they did swimming on the side."

Most of the seniors grew up within an eight-block radius of one another near the West Pullman Park District.

"In an all African-American neighborhood, to do a non-traditional activity is impressive," Garrett said. "There are very few pools there."
You know I have been hearing about this movie perhaps when I get the first opportunity I should check it out. I knew it involved swimming, but what else. I'm liking some of the movies coming out featuring a mostly black cast. It's almost like these movies are less negative and a little more inspiration...
It's almost fitting that Julian had its first home game about a week after the movie "Pride" opened last Friday. "Pride" is the true story of African-American swimmer Jim Ellis, who started an African-American swim team at a Philadelphia rec center in the early 1970s.
Finally how is the water polo scene in the Chicago Public Schools..
Kevin McCray, the Public League's water polo coordinator, said there are either girls and/or boys water polo teams at Julian, Young, Lane Tech, North Side College Prep, Morgan Park, Mather, Curie, Kenwood, Lincoln Park, Von Steuben, Lake View, Gage Park, Taft and Foreman. Julian, Gage Park and Lake View are all in their first seasons this year.

"Our stronger schools are on the North Side, like Lane and Lincoln Park and Young [on the West Side]," McCray said. "But the South Side is coming on with better swimming and water polo teams.

"We'd like to have more promotion in the schools, but the Park District has a pretty big water polo program, and the swim clubs encourage the kids to do [water polo]. The youth group swim clubs around the city have a great deal of effect [on getting more kids to play water polo]."
Yeah not all the young guys want to play basketball which was the case back in my days in high school. In fact those who didn't want to attend class, they'd instead attend when the unit was basketball. Good luck to them though.

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