“It’s for Everybody”: UIL to add Water Polo in 2021

VYPE

Originally Appeared on VYPE

HOUSTON – This was for everybody.

It was for anyone who has ever played water polo since the 1970s. It was for Lamar coach Steve McDonald. It was for 10-year-old Baylor Slay.

For all of them the wait is over. Water polo will officially start its pilot program in Fall 2021 as a sanctioned UIL sport.

"It was scary because you don't know what to expect in that vote, it can go anyway," Foster water polo coach Chris Slay said.

Adding water polo to the sports lists marks the first sport to be added to the UIL since wrestling was added for the 1998-1999 season.

On Sunday, Slay was the one to give a speech, which he was allotted a maximum of five minutes to give, to the UIL Legislative Committee. Slay admitted it was a little scary facing a board of superintendents with his "nerves going about a million miles per hour".

The nerves carried over into Monday morning up until the vote was complete, which also included 205 schools saying they would play water polo when it starts in fall of 2021.

A school counted in that number is Foster, whose boys water polo team finished as TISCA State Runnerups in 2019 and the girls water polo team, which won a TISCA State Championship in May for the first in program history.

"I hope so or something has gone horribly wrong," Slay said about Foster being considered a contender when the sport starts in 2021. "I think we have infrastructure in place. There are good youth aquatic sports in the area where we are. We're trying to build a tradition and people are taking note and it's growing."

Leading up to that fall, Slay knows they will have to continue to grow.


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VYPE

Originally Appeared on VYPE

KINGWOOD - The true impact of a coach can't always measured by the number of win and losses, the number of district championships or even runs at a state title.

This story goes beyond any of that.

In reality, the impact a coach is seen whenever they become the one that is in need of the support that they have been providing to others their entire career.

Kingwood girls soccer coach Pres Holcomb, who is set to begin chemotherapy to battle Stage 4 colon cancer, which he was diagnosed with on December 20, is seeing his impact as the Kingwood and soccer community has rallied around him and his family with messages, wristbands, t-shirts, donations and more.

"It's overwhelming in a good way," Holcomb said. "It's kind of crazy when you see your own name across stuff like that. Once we went public with it, the support has been amazing. People you haven't talked to in years are reaching out to you."

Since they've gone public with it the "Hope for Holcomb" campaign has taken off.

The soccer team - which was told about Holcomb's battle in a group setting - created blue wristbands with the phrase on them. It started with the girls wearing them during matches and expanded to them being sold at different places in the community.

They started by ordering just 300.

Then an order of 500 more was needed and that still wasn't enough. The wristbands have sold more than 1,000.

"You don't even think you know that many people," Holcomb said.

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