Inner Tube Water Polo

Live, now, at the New York Social Sports ClubInner Tube Water Polo!

Inner-Tube Water Polo? New York Social Sports Club? It is to laugh. It is to contemplate. It is to celebrate.

There are rules, though. O, yes, there are rules. As one would expect from any adult sport of such, shall we say, depth. As silly as it looks, as much laughter as it ostensibly evokes, if we couldn’t take it seriously, it wouldn’t be as much fun. Though I admit that I despaired a bit when I encountered the multitude and specificity of the rules. If it were one of my games, as you can imagine, the only rules would be: 1) wear inner tubes, and 2) play water polo. And despair I did, until I encountered the flipping rules. I exemplify:

Contact Between players

A defending player may touch the ball when it is in possession of an opposing player by swatting the ball out of player’s hand.

Flipping is legal. The only permitted contact is pushing down on the top of the tube or lifting straight up from the bottom. DO NOT GRAB AND HOLD ON TO SOMEONE’S TUBE. IT POPS TUBES AND IS DANGEROUS.

Inner tube to inner tube contact is legal. Incidental inner tube to body contact is legal. A defending player may touch the ball when it is in possession of an opposing player by swatting the ball out of player’s hand. Any illegal contact between players will result in a free throw.

  • Inner Tube to Inner Tube Contact—LEGAL
  • Inner Tube to Body Contact—LEGAL
  • Body to Body Contact—ILLEGAL

Bottom line, keep it clean. Do: Make a play on the ball. Do NOT: Tackle the person with the ball.

Offensive Flipping

The person in possession of the ball may flip a defender to defend the ball. If it gets out of hand an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty may be called at the Ref’s discretion.

Defensive Flipping

The defense may ONLY flip the person in direct possession of the ball. Not the person who last touched the ball and not the person about to touch the ball. If it gets out of hand an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty may be called at the ref’s discretion.

And, of course, were this my game, there’d be no referee. But it’s not my game. And it is fun. And one can take the rules with a certain salt-grained tongue-in-cheekiness should one so desire. And, as for the flipping rule, the pushing down or up on a fellow-player’s inner-tube so as to cause that player to become dunked and detubed, well, sheer genius is what I say, sheeringly.

I learned about this sport from an article by Richard Gottleib – “When Adults Play; is it just a way to get a date?” I would have opined more fully on Richard’s thought-provoking article. In fact, I did, on LinkedIn, as follows:
In my experience, socialization is a big part of it. But socialization is itself a big part of fun. Having fun together is, for most people (I think – maybe there’s some research needed here – I sure wouldn’t want to do it), having fun together is easier and more fulfilling than having fun by yourself. As for ulterior motives, they are just as much part of the fun package. Having fun with other people is sexy. Running around, sitting around, lying around, we are embodied. We get to touch and be touched. We get to be, well, physical.It’s less fun, for sure, if you’re goal lies so far outside of the experience that you only think of going out to play as fun if you get something else out of it, after the play experience. Because then you’re not having as much fun playing. But I think that’s true for only a very few, very, very lonely people. I think most of us, even with all our ulterior motives, when given the opportunity to go out and play together, get something very big, very important out of it all.

1 Comment

  1. Lily on August 14, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    JUST a way to get a date? No there is so much more to it. Can you get a date having fun? Absolutely. Some of the best relationships (again, research needed perhaps) spring up out of mutual fun.

    I think adults feel they need more rules. The thing about rules is they take FOREVER to explain. A simpler version might be their shorter version of it, adding to the body to tube contact: this may include flipping. The whole “with the ball”,”without the ball” seems a little unnecessary to me.

    A simple, Your team goes that way, the other team goes the other way. Have fun and don’t hurt each other seems like enough. But hey, that’s just me. Wait, it’s you too LOL.

    Love and laughter,

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