Men's Sports, Men's Water Polo, Sports

Alumni vs. mens water polo team exhibition match

Long Beach State alumni reentered the pool Saturday for a playful match against current water polo players.

Although there was competition, everyone attended with the intention of bonding and connecting.

09/10/2022 - LONG BEACH, CALIF: The CSULB MWPOLO Team play a physical yet fun exhibition contest at the Ken Lindgren Aquatics Center.
09/10/2022 - LONG BEACH, CALIF: The CSULB MWPOLO Team play a physical yet fun exhibition contest at the Ken Lindgren Aquatics Center. Photo credit: Naoki Gima

Before the match began, alumni huddled under their designated tent giggling as they changed into their speedos. Beside the tent, the pool was lively, as alumni player Devin Mefford swam near the edge of the pool to converse as well.

“I’ve spent so many hours in this pool,” Mefford said. “If you can only imagine.”

Mefford graduated in 2014 and competed for his entire college education. Even after graduating, he still finds time to meet up with other alumni to hang out.

09/10/2022 - LONG BEACH, CALIF: The Alumni team celebrates scoring the first goal of the game during the CSULB MWPOLO vs. Alumni game.
09/10/2022 - LONG BEACH, CALIF: The Alumni team celebrates scoring the first goal of the game during the CSULB MWPOLO vs. Alumni game. Photo credit: Naoki Gima

“You might hate some of them, you might love some of them, it’s like your brother or sister at home,” Mefford said.

With the announcers desk filled with current players, playful banter ensued the entire game. The stands held the families of the alumni and even other CSULB students.

Reed Pantaleon, a current CSULB freshman, felt embraced with team spirit.

“Learning from the other guys [alumni], they love teaching us everything.” Pantaleon said. “They really focus on us.”

Pantaleon pointed to Mefford, explaining how the bond between the alumni and the team feels like family.

09/10/2022 - LONG BEACH, CALIF: A member of the Alumni team shares a moment with their child during the CSULB MWPOLO vs. Alumni game.
09/10/2022 - LONG BEACH, CALIF: A member of the Alumni team shares a moment with their child during the CSULB MWPOLO vs. Alumni game. Photo credit: Naoki Gima

At the end of the match, after grouping for a photo, Mefford offered help with any business or marketing for students still attending school. Another player offered insurance.

“Playing Division 1 athletics is a special time,” Head Coach, Gavin Arroyo said. “When you graduate, or you move on or stop playing, you kind of shift gears and go into the business world, the working world the family world and today is just one of those days to reconnect.”

Joshua Spence, a recent graduate of The Beach, came to the match to talk to other alumni about his experience post water polo and to gain life insight with older alumni.

“We’re not in the game anymore,” Spence said. “We’re all living our life.”

09/10/2022 - LONG BEACH, CALIF: CSULB MWPOLO Alumni, Derek Bailey, put his wet swim cap over his daughter's head during the CSULB MWPOLO vs. Alumni game.
09/10/2022 - LONG BEACH, CALIF: CSULB MWPOLO Alumni, Derek Bailey, put his wet swim cap over his daughter's head during the CSULB MWPOLO vs. Alumni game. Photo credit: Naoki Gima

Transitioning out of school as an athlete was difficult. Since CSULB is a Division 1 school, alumni went from being in the pool everyday to never. Based on his experience, water polo as a college student was his life.

“An alumni game like this, grounds you back in,” Spence said.

Mens water polo team will compete at the Ken Lindgren Aquatics Center against UC San Diego at 1 p.m. on Sept. 17.

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