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Rhetorical Analysis: The Water Polo Ball Throughout History In a pool of blue, the water polo ball stands

out with its bright yellow color. The ball comes in many different colors, but the standard color is yellow, striped with black lines. The ball we play with today is very different from the ball used when the sport of water polo first started. The ball design was changed due to developments in technology and ultimately caused the game of water polo to get faster. The use of different materials to make the water polo ball caused the game to increase in speed. In the 19th century, the ball was three to four inches in diameter, and was made out of rubber. Players could easily hold the ball in their hand and swim with it, but because the ball was much smaller, often times the ball was lost in the rivers of England and Scotland (where Rugby football aka water polo originated). Players later used a soccer ball instead of a rubber ball. The soccer ball was much more slippery to grasp when it got wet, but it increased the pace of the game and made it more exciting for spectators to watch. Naturally, a new water polo ball was designed that was made out of material better suited for the water. The new ball designed very similar to the type of ball that players around the world use today. The new water polo ball, invented in 1936 by James R. Smith, was designed to be used in the water, be non-absorbent, and have a rough texture so that it could be easily gripped. Smiths water polo ball was made with a cotton bladder (later changed to nylon) and a rubber fabric cover. Players could now dribble with the ball on top of the water since the ball floated, grip the ball with one hand, and throw the ball above the water. This made the game move even faster, and also allowed for more skillful plays. The color of the ball also caused the speed of the game to increase. Smiths original ball was a red color, but in 1984, the color was changed to yellow for better visibility of plays. Now, colored stripes have been added the yellow and black ball. According to Mikasa Sports, the creator of the color striped ball, the ball with stripes allows players to keep better track of the ball and even helps players detect which way the ball is spinning. Both the NCAA and NFHS recently approved the changes to the ball. For some competitions, specially designed colorful balls are used. While the changes in design of the water polo ball have been approved, teams still may use the traditional yellow and black colored ball. From personal experience, I am thankful for the changes the water polo ball has gone through in terms of texture, size, and color. I could not picture playing with a tiny rubber ball, a slippery soccer ball, or a red colored ball. The current water polo ball is made perfectly, and achieves its purpose of allowing players to play the game of water polo without the design of the ball hindering the flow of the game. The newly designed water polo ball had a huge impact on the game. As a result, some changes to the rules were made. James R. Smith created new rules to go along with the new ball design. Smith wrote many books on coaching and the mechanics of play. In 1936, Smith wrote a book entitled Playing and Coaching Water Polo. Thanks to his contributions to the game of water polo, in 1990, the United States Water Polo Award was established in honor of Smith. Once a year, the United

States Water Polo award is given to an individual or group, and recognizes their contributions to water polo in the United States.

Current womens water polo ball

Mikasas ball with color stripes

Colorful ball used for special competitions