The Ole Miss Water Polo Club is one of the newest recreational sports on campus, and the team is seeking new members.
Graduate student Kailee Wright had been playing water polo all her life, and when she came to Ole Miss, she was disappointed because there was no intramural or club water polo team at the university.
“At first, I was okay with not playing,” she said, “but soon enough, I missed the sport so much. I worked for the Turner Center and slowly met people who also played water polo. I figured that with all the interest and my love for the sport, there was no reason we should not have a team.”
Starting the new club in 2017 was more difficult than Wright expected. “Starting a new club always means making sacrifices,” she said. “I had tons of interested students, but we didn’t have any equipment. With no equipment, it is difficult to keep up people’s interest. Luckily, we had an awesome original group that helped fund a goal and balls for our team.”
The original club members worked to collect donations from their old high school water polo teams, because sports equipment like balls and a goal are expensive. Wright also wanted to be compete with nearby colleges.
To do this, the Ole Miss team had to be associated with the College Water Polo Association, which would require more financial support and participation from club members. Wright said by practicing three times a week and implementing events like team dinners, she enabled the team to become closer and lean on each other like a family.
Even though there were struggles with creating the team, and it was difficult for Wright to find time to handle all the club’s duties on top of her schoolwork, she said she is glad she pulled together a great group of individuals.
Not only will her leadership experience as the president of the Ole Miss Club Water Polo Team look great on job applications, Wright said her struggles with the club have changed her outlook on life for the better.
Wright encourages those who are considering starting a new club at Ole Miss to do it, even though it won’t be easy.
“This team has taught me to be selfless and how investing in something you love can pay off,” she said. “It is difficult during that first year of starting a club, because interest can be spotty, and there may be days when you are the only one who shows up.
“It is important to stay positive and organized. No team can thrive unless you are willing to communicate to your members and be there to answers any questions they might have. Overall, the Ole Miss Water Polo Club has been a rewarding experience, and I owe that to my teammates who dedicate their time and love this team just as much as I do.”
Wright’s dedication to the team has allowed many Ole Miss students to feel more connected to the university.
“I’m so glad that Ole Miss has a water polo team now,” said Ole Miss freshman Tayler McCann, “because the sport is such a huge part of my life. I’m so appreciative of all that Kailee [Wright] does for our team, and her dedication has caused for her to be such a big inspiration to me.”
McCann loves going to practice in the Turner Center. “The team has such a strong friendship connection because they were all able to grow as a club together,”she said.
McCann said joining a new club is a great way to meet new people, especially freshman year, because the club is looking to grow and get new members. McCann is also rushing to try to join a sorority, but she loved how the club water polo team welcomed her with open arms and had a no-stress attitude, so she felt included.