January 31, 2016
2016 Season Promises To Be Epic
There was a time back in 2003 when I spent one weekend
putting together the first version of the
illpolo.com web site. The plan was to compile a list of teams and
schedules and then let it sit as a resource, since there wasn't much else
available on the Internet at the time. The first games of the season were played on March 10 of that
year, I added a few scores to the site out of boredom...
...fast-forward to February 14, 2016 when I will
likely post nine months worth of research and development to the tune of
420 new pages/subpages with just a few weeks until the 2016 season begins.
As the fourteenth year of water polo coverage in
Illinois gets underway, it seems
appropriate to provide an update to let you know about the important
site news and information related to the 2016 water polo coverage:
1) Illpolo University - Since the end of the
2014 season, Illpolo University has been covering the efforts of former
water polo players from Illinois. After covering the boys' season in the
fall, Illpolo University will continue providing updates for the girls'
collegiate season this spring while the high school season approaches.
2) T-Shirts/Merchandise - The second edition of
the Illpolo Baller shirt will be released early in the 2016 season and
will be available for purchase in
The Illpolo Mart.
3) Hall of Fame - The 2016 Hall of Fame class as
well as any additional inductees will be announced before the start of the
4) Podcast - After appearing on USA Water Polo's
Counter Attack Podcast two seasons ago, there is a possibility that
a few Illpolo podcasts will be produced, time permitting.
5) Rankings - Once again, this year's rankings
will list the Top 50 teams each week. There will not be a separate
rankings page for all 90+ teams posted on the site. The rankings will be
updated by February 14.
6) Team Links - Instead of creating separate
pages for each team, links will be provided that go directly
to each team's online schedule. That way, if changes are made to a team's
the season, viewers will be able to keep up via that specific team's updates.
7) Giveaways - Various items (coffee, Baller
shirts, pizza, water polo bears, hats, mini polo balls, gift cards, USAWP
autographs and trading cards) were given away during the 2015 season.
Expect more of the same this year!
8) Player Spotlight - A new feature that
includes an action shot of a current player along with a brief interview
may be included on the web site in 2016. Click
here for an example.
9) Instagram - We will be asking our readers to
submit pictures that can be posted on Instagram that highlight the 2016
water polo season once the season begins. Follow
@illpolo on Instagram.
Head Coaching Openings
Lane Tech (Girls)
Waubonsie Valley (Girls)
...if there are any other openings, please submit
1) The preseason rankings are an indicator of where
teams left off at the end of last season and are not a prediction of where
teams will end up at the end of the 2016 campaign. A lot has happened
since last May, so expect a lot of changes to occur after so many players
have improved their skills during the offseason.
2) There are always a few players who either get
mistaken as having graduated and others who did graduate yet still appear
in the preseason previews. If you have any info that can help with
the accuracy of the preseason lists, please help us get things right by
sending in corrections.
3) Four years ago, it was suggested that I charge a small fee
for readers to access the web site. Actually, it was also suggested around
nine years ago and a few more times in between, and my response then and my
response now are always the same: NEVER!
There is no way I could limit access to the great high
school water polo athletes in Illinois and the recognition they so richly
deserve for their extraordinary efforts.
4) Of course, if you like the coverage and can afford
to make a donation to keep the site afloat so players can get the
recognition they deserve, it is greatly appreciated. Click the
link for more information.
5) Physically, Illpolo.com is a solo effort (aside from
the occasional editing help from my wife and now maybe my three-year old
and three-month old son). However, it requires
a community effort from anyone who is willing to send game information and
other helpful tidbits that can ensure as many players and teams get recognized. E-mail, text, tweet, retweet,
call, fax, or send information via carrier pigeon; whatever form of
communication that you can use will go a long way in helping the site progress.
Don't be shy about spreading the word about high school water polo in
6) On a personal note, I have increased job
responsibilities, grad classes, two young ballers and more teams to cover
for a sport that features boys' and girls' seasons at the same time. If
there is any lag in the coverage, it won't be for lack of trying or
motivation, but be aware that there are outside forces and no backup plan
or replacement for me in the event I get stuck at work or have some sort
of family issue.
You probably won't notice anything different (since I
can just skip sleeping and caffeine is always readily available) but at
least be aware of these issues and send information when you can to pitch
in and help out.
Best of luck in 2016,