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Athletes in Focus: Daniel Saligman and Ben Meyers on Keeping Hope Afloat This Water Polo Season

By Max Marinelli ‘22, Sports Reporter 10-30-18

As the weather outside grows increasingly brisk and the fall sports season draws to a close, inside there is still hope for the Boys’ Water Polo Team. With just a few games left in the season, the fact that the team has yet to win any meets hasn’t come close to dampening the optimistic spirits of two persevering players, freshmen Ben Meyers and Daniel Saligman. Daniel has been attending FCS since kindergarten, while Ben came in sixth grade after studying at the Perelman Jewish Day School. Both Ben and Daniel began playing water polo in middle school. All three of Daniel’s older siblings, Lindsay Saligman ‘14, Robby Saligman ‘17, and Nina Saligman ‘19, played water polo at FCS and talked Daniel into joining the team. Daniel and Ben had been close pals for a while, so Daniel roped Ben in. Daniel thought Ben would be a natural goalie, as prior to being a water polo player, Ben had been involved in competitive swimming. On their first day as water polo teammates, Daniel taught Ben how to play. By the end that day, the boys had learned two things: Ben was not a good goalie, but he had a great arm and had a passion for the sport. The duo added that “wopo” is the slang term used to refer to the game.

I asked Daniel and Ben how it felt to be on a team that had not only lost every game this season, but has been consistently defeated for many years in a row. I wondered about how this would affect their mental states before and after games. One might think such a history of defeat would discourage them from even trying to win. Yet, the team’s “less-than-ideal” track record has actually had the opposite effect on these two, and seemingly, the rest of the team. Daniel said, “the string of losses doesn't affect me too much because I have confidence in the team. Ben and I broke a losing streak in middle school water polo last year which just motivates me to repeat it for the amazing feeling of breaking the streak.” Ben elaborated that he has turned the constant losing into a positive, using every loss as a “motivation for him to win more.” On social media, many water polo players have started a movement called #BreakTheStreak, putting the hashtag in the captions of their water polo-related posts. I asked the guys what they planned on doing once they finally won. Daniel quickly responded, “Easily having a party at the captain’s house. Amanda will bring donuts and food.” He also plans to “invite the girls’ team because [the guys team is] ‘nice.’” Clearly they had thought about this plan before. Daniel and Ben told me the water polo team is making sweatshirts regardless, but it would be extra special if won. If they ended up winning, all they would request is a modest shoutout at assembly and a new reputation of not being an utter joke among the other schools in the league.

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