By ERIC BALMER
This new sport may not be as exhilarating as underwater basket weaving or as relaxing as cliff camping, but it might just become your new obsession. Intensity is probably the best word to describe this up and coming game.
In Underwater Hockety, there are two teams of six that compete against each other in six to eight feet of water. To score, they must shoot a weighted ball into the opposing teams’ goal. Since humans weren’t made to breathe underwater, this adds an interesting dynamic to the game. Most players are only underwater for about five seconds.
Players of this demanding competition need to be skillful in both swimming and diving, as the game is played at the bottom of a swimming pool. To be able to play, contestants must wear fins, mask, snorkel and protective gloves and headgear. Each player also has one foot long stick used to handle the puck. As for the puck itself, it’s approximately three pounds. Each team must attempt to score on a goal that is three meters long.
Although hockey is in the name, the sport is non-contact unlike the sport played on skates. Like most team sports, but maybe even more so with underwater hockey, teamwork is absolutely essential for a team to be successful because unlike most sports, pure physical strength is less important than finesse.
You may be thinking this is some random sport that I made up in my dorm room, but there is actually a governing committee. Underwater Hockey follows the elected committee of the Underwater Society of America (USOA). The group meets every month and has created rules for the sport.
The strategy is very similar to basketball, especially on the defensive side of the puck. Teams will generally play zone defense, with forward offensive players and back defensive players. The different positions are the center who tries to get initial possession and is an offensive player, wings who are on the outside and play both offense and defense, halfbacks who stop the other team and give the ball to the wings and the swingback who backs up the halfback.
Sports like underwater hockey may sound too good to be true (if you can’t get enough of swimming and diving), but if you’re looking for a new way to have fun this summer, this sport may be calling your name.