Image provided by Scott Harvey.
Like most sports, water polo requires strong teamwork, but senior Prashi Dali shines as a team player with her ability to score in tough situations and to work well with her teammates on the Washington High School Varsity Water Polo team. Her main sport was swimming, but in fifth grade she was convinced by her sister to start playing water polo. At first she was not really interested in water polo because she was more focused on swimming, but she gave it another try when she entered her freshman year. She has pursued water polo in all four years at Washington High School. She enjoys this sport because of the teammates that she has: “my teammates motivate me a lot, they are what make playing the sport fun,” she says. But, they also create a serious environment so everybody can succeed in the games.
Scoring is a very basic skill in water polo, but it can be extremely enigmatic to master. You need to be able to get good height out of the water, arm position, shoulder rotation, and have a strong wrist. Learning to accurately shoot is more important than power because the goalie can easily block the shot if it is aimed poorly. Prashi has been practicing hard on her scoring skills everyday at practice and has improved a lot since the start of her commitment to the sport. Dali described one of the most difficult situations in the sport she had to overcome: “Sometimes when you’re passed the ball, the defense will be on your back trying to get it and they’re sort of holding you down. Since the ref[eree]s can’t really see that, you have to try your best to overpower them and score.”
Dali invests a lot of time into water polo so she can make her teammates proud. Water polo has taught her the intrinsic value of “commit[ing] so much time into practicing and to see the hard work pay off.” Additionally, for Dali, “It feels really good to play well in a game after putting in a lot of work.” But, it can also be really unmotivating when a match takes an unexpectedly disappointing turn. Although these bad days may happen, her teammate, senior Kaitlin Wong, says that what makes Dali a really good player is that “she is really good at learning new things and is easily able to apply those skills to her play style.”
A good team player brings the whole team together through encouragement, support, and care. All of these characteristics describe Dali because even when it comes to hardships like post-match exhaustion or losing a match, she knows that “a good attitude really brings up the mood most of the time.”
Juggling water polo and homework can be difficult as practice and games eat up time that would otherwise be spent doing homework during water polo season. However, Prashi perseveres through the pressures that she puts on herself to succeed in school as well as in the pool. Although she does not plan to pursue the sport beyond high school, she has enjoyed her experience on Washington High School’s Water Polo team.