Please consider giving permission (via a letter) for the students at your school in join with our newly-formed, varsity water polo team. We wish to extend our water polo opportunity to students at your school who might be interested.
We are seeking a simple, open letter from the school principal to the PIAA that says:
To All It May Concern:
Students at your school are permitted to join a sports cooperative (coop) for the sport of Water Polo at Pittsburgh Obama.
You can send that letter to me via email and postal mail:
- Mark Rauterkus, Pittsburgh Combined Water Polo
- 108 South 12th Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15203-1226
- 412-298-3432 = cell
I coach varsity swimming at Pittsburgh Obama Academy and run a popular, summer-time, Swim & Water Polo Camp that reaches a 200+ kids in the city. Recently, I coached the women's water polo team at CMU. For six summers, we've have employed about 35 swimmers as instructors and lifeguards—mainly pulled from our past swim and water polo participants. This year, we are reaching for 60. With the Bloomfield-Garfield Corp and the Eastside Neighborhood Employment Center, we're working with the expanded City of Pittsburgh's Learn & Earn Youth Job Initiative. Some of those positions help those of modest income from ages 14-21 get jobs with sports and recreation with our programs. We're pulling together a fitness, wellness, aquatics movement for the city with Digital Badges with the aid of The Sprout Fund and this new varsity water polo team endeavor, is an important cornerstone for making a sustainable impact.
In past years, we've had more informal participation and called the team, Pittsburgh Combined. This year, with your okay, we'd love to include students from your school in a more robust program with more jobs and tighter relationships among the educational institutions so that the city kids can compete.
For PIAA co-ops, schools need to be neighbors in geography.
The second PIAA co-op requirement is that only ONE of the schools within the co-op can have more than 350 students in grades 9, 10 and 11 for boys and 350 for girls. That rule prevents two or more of the BIGGEST schools from making a co-op. There are no limits in the number of smaller schools that can join the water polo co-op.
My vision, because Central Catholic / Oakland Catholic, Bishop Canevin and Seton LaSalle, plus a few other schools in and around Pittsburgh are geographical neighbors to PPS, and because only Central/Oakland classifies as a large schools under the PIAA standard, and because we've got jobs for kids in the summers—such as at Langley and at Brashear for our summer camps, and because new aquatic programs are brewing, I hope to get your school into our Obama Academy hosted water polo coop.
We have insurance from a 501 (c)(3) organization, American Water Polo. We have a local nonprofit support too, the Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation. I'm Mark@Bloomfield-Garfield.org. We have some players at Obama, and my son will be a senior (Obama Academy, class of 2016), and was recently invited to the tryout-camps for the USA Youth Team in California. So, we have some players and this team will form, but we'd love to offer your kids the opportunities to join in the first year.
The PA and Ohio water polo communities are eager to get more squads in the mix in the seasons to come. So, we will be welcomed with open arms.
We have a swim pool at Obama Academy. Throughout PPS, other pools are available too. This summer we are holding 28 days of swimming at Brashear High School, where Seaton LaSalle varsity team practices in the winter. Plus, the same happens at Pittsburgh Classical Academy, where Bishop Canevin practices. In the fall, we'll be able to use Obama Academy for most practices. But there are some flexible locations and times that can accommodate athletes so that when the winter sports season comes in November, our kids have already had coaching, conditioning and pool time fitness. Wrestlers and basketball players can benefit with fall water polo too for leg strength, ball skills with safe yet strenuous practices. Playing fall water polo gives an advantage to the kids that want to swim successful in the winter as we can get those athletes pool time.
Summer Water Polo practices, open to anyone in the community, are happening now, with the help of Citiparks and the Thelma Lovette YMCA on Centre Ave in the Hill District:
Monday & Wednesdays, 6-7:30 pm, Northside, Citiparks Sue Murray swim pool.
Tuesday & Thursdays, 6-7:30 pm, Mt. Washington, Citiparks Ream swim pool.
Fridays, 5-8 pm, indoors, Hill District, Thelma Lovette YMCA.
Morning practices twice a week are slated for Homewood, Polish Hill and Sheraden. The calendar is at CLOH.org.
The organizing practices are for any and all who want to play. The kids can join us and NOT be a part of the fall varsity team if they like, but, you know that the high school sports season, while short, is a lot of fun. We have equipment, balls, and goals.
I'd love to have a conversation with you about this soon. Then, I hope we can forward this news to the students. I hope you'll consider the possibility of getting us the letter and allowing the students at your school into our coop for water polo for the fall 2015 season. If you want to have a meeting with me and the swim coaches, I'd be happy to meet. You are also invited to visit so we can chat at any of our practice times this summer.
Of course, all the team members don't need to come from the ranks of your student body. But, getting a few would go a long way in building relationships and helping to grow the local sports scene.
Water polo participation has great benefits for college students too. Most colleges have club water polo teams. Many students who might not be fast enough to swim in colleges often find a spot on water polo squads, keeping them fit, introducing them to new friends, and offering new leadership roles.
Water polo skills are transferable to other sports. Beyond swimming, water polo can help athletes of ball and net sports such as soccer, LAX and hockey. Catching and tossing balls helps those who might play baseball, softball and basketball. Leg strength is important in water polo helping with fitness levels for track, volleyball and wrestling. The pool is a great place for those who might need an off-season cross-training option because of injury too. Athletes from other sports might find water polo as a great in-between sport with some job benefits as well.
Thanks for the consideration. I look forward to talking with you about these possibilities.
Mark Rauterkus Mark@Bloomfield-Garfield.org
PPS Summer Dreamers' Swim and Water Polo Camp Head Coach
Pittsburgh Combined Water Polo Team
412 298 3432 = cell