This isn’t an easy post to write and I’ve been thinking about it all weekend. On warm Friday nights in my neighborhood, we pull out some lawn chairs and pour a cold beer or a glass of wine and talk about what’s going on in the neighborhood.Â The topic turned to last Thursday’s varsity water polo match between Irvine High and Corona Del Mar High School and what happened. The more I heard, the more my mouth dropped.
The OC Register was there with a videocamera and captured what appears to be a Corona Del Mar player holding and Irvine High opponent under water for several seconds and then grabbing the surfacing player.Â The Irvine playerÂ had his windpipe displaced somehow from the contact.Â The Irvine High player struggled to keep his head above water and the boy’s father jumped into the pool fully clothed to help his son.Â It’s all on videotape and on the web.
The Irvine High playerÂ was treated at the scene and eventually resumed play in the final period of the match, but told the Register he was choked.
Here’s Tim Burt’s story about the incident.Â Go to the link and read the story because I frankly don’t have the stomach to mention any of the kids from either school here by name.Â
One detail that did emerge in Burt’s story was that CDM was without one of their best players who was serving a one game suspension for brutality in a match two days earlier against Northwood.Â
Burt quotes CDM’s coach: Barry O’Dea: “I didn’t even see what happened, I wasn’t watching that part. I think they had just scored a goal, I was facing the bench, next thing you know I saw them blowing the whistle. To be honest with you, I didn’t know why he was blowing the whistle until I saw NAME WITHHELD’S dad jump in the water. No one on our bench knew what was going on. I didn’t see the play, so I don’t really know what happened. I don’t teach that, I don’t coach that, that’s not our style. I’m pretty sure if you ask my guys, they will tell you all sorts of things are going on in the water. It’s water polo. Again, I don’t know if that happened.”
After watching the videotape and larning a player sat out for brutality, how is it NOT your style coach?
I reached the public information officer at Newport Mesa High School this afternoon; CDM’s principal and AD didn’t return three phone calls I made to the school today.Â An investigation was conducted by mulitple officials of the school and resolution efforts were underwat.Â Laura Boss of Newport Mesa reported that the parents of the players involved and the players involved have had phone conversations.Â CDM officials determine after watching hours of videotape that they were unable to conclude that there was an intentional infliction of harm against the Irvine player.
Excuse me while I call bull on O’ Dea’s comments and CDM officials for this investigation.Â
In the case of O’Dea, his star player serves a suspension for brutality and another player is on videotape holding a kid underwater doing who knows what that the camera can’t see.Â Was the displaced windpipe not enough evidence?Â I realize water polo is a tough sport and when you play, you place yourself at risk, but with two high profile incidents, I have toÂ wonder why the young man who grabbed the IrvineÂ High player was allowed to compete in another tournament this week.Â Â Here’s the videotape.Â Watch it and explain how the Irvine player in the green cap’s head snaps back?
I’m told there are other videos out there that capture this incident from different angles.Â And Newport Mesa expressed interest in seeing these videos.Â But do yourselves a favor if you have a tape – upload to YouTube first so the investigation will have a more public tone to it.
(photo courtesy of the OC Register)