There were 2 sessions offered: March 7 and 14 and we chose the former. For a pool fee of Php200, I even got to borrow gear (fins, mask and snorkel) for free!
We hitched with UH Coach Gigi Santos from Festival mall en route to the Manila Polo Club in Makati along McKinley Road. I’ve never been to that place and so I didn’t take the car. The introduction session was from 1 to 5 pm.
I was 5th to register and immediately went to the gear area. I’m glad I registered early coz there wasn’t enough gear for all and so I was included in the first batch. After suiting up, we tried our gear in the water. Here’s me with my back to the camera.
First on the agenda was clearing/defogging the mask and clearing the snorkel. Clearing the snorkel for me was new coz I’ve never dived with a snorkel on. And then there were the submersion techniques. One to jump up and on the way down, slide the legs back.
The other, which is more common is to snorkel for a few kicks and then tuck the head down with the butt coming out. Here, my groupmates try the submersion techniques while I wave at the camera.
With the batch divided into 2, our team was coached by Gigi for the practice drills. We were taught the correct holds for the hockey stick and how to move and maneuver the puck
At the poolside the second batch was given orientation by the other coaches. Maybe being in the second batch would’ve been a better choice coz I wanted an orientation as well! There were many ladies attending the intro. Too bad there were no underwater shots. All the coaches were busy teaching and no one was able to take underwater shots.
That’s Gigi with the mask on in the foreground. Other drills we did were alternate pushing of the puck to other end with a buddy. My buddy was Arben. He’s the kid in front of me with the yellow mask. Our pairing probly has the biggest age difference in the entire batch!
After the drills, which included a maneuver called “the curl”, our team the “Black Sticks” (yeah, very creative name) had a practice game with the “White Sticks” (what else?). I was mostly a substitute in the game but managed to handle the puck a few times.
It’s tough and going up for air for me was a challenge. I also thought that my fins were a bit large and loose fitting coz I suffered a cramp in my left calf – painful.
In the end, our team, the “Black Sticks” won, 3-2. Here are the Black and White team. That’s me on the extreme left.
After our practice game, it was Violet’s batch’s turn. I think this pic was taken at the deeper portion of the pool (middle part) which was 6 feet, maybe.
All preceding photos including the one below are courtesy of the Philippine Underwater Hockey Confederation’s website. See them all at http://puhc.multiply.com/photos/album/14/2009_1st_Intro_To_Underwater_Hockey
Finally, a pic with the pool in the background. It was only after I toweled off did I realize that I scraped my right knuckle. In fact when I returned my glove, it had a hole!
In spite of it all, I had a super fun time. The only real bummer of the day was when I got home, I realized my cellphone was missing. I may have dropped it in the taxi on the way to Ayala or in the bus.
Maybe a blessing? Coz because of that, I now have a new and better phone. Not fancy. It’s one of those buy-one-take-one deals (Nokia 1680) but good enough for Sandra and me.