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Big Brother Day At Water Polo



MALIBU, Calif. – Following a big upset over No. 2 UCLA on Saturday, the Pepperdine men’s water polo team delayed its celebration to host 14 inner-city boys for a game of inner tube water polo and a picnic lunch.


The group "A Chance for Children" came early for the Pepperdine vs. UCLA match armed with homemade signs and biographies on each of their “big brothers”. Each child read his biography on his player and memorized all the stats during a 20-minute delay before the start of the match.


While the Waves battled it out in the pool, shouts of encouragement could be heard from  fourteen very excited boys in the stands. When one of their players scored ... they celebrated as if they had scored.


Pepperdine finished the match with a victory at 9-5. The crowd went wild. However, the most enthusiastic group in the stands was the eager little boys who couldn’t wait to meet their heroes in person.


Goalkeeper John Hahn (Sydney, Australia, Macquarie University) was the first one over after the game.


“Who has Number 1?” asked Tai Collins, Director of A Chance for Children.


“I do, I do!” shouted one of the boys.


“Well get on over here!” said Hahn.


As each of the Pepperdine players came over to the group, they were introduced to their “little brother.”


“Where’s No. 9? Has anyone seen No. 9?” shouted a small boy with a huge smile on his face.


“Over here,” said Matt Digges (Coronado, Calif./ Coronado HS)


The boy hurried out of the stands to meet Digges and exclaimed “You scored 18 goals as a freshman!”


‘Wow,” said Digges. “I didn’t even know that.”


The fun continued as the players gave each of their little brothers their game gap to wear. The inner tubes were blown up and they hit the pool. Some of the boys had never been in a pool before and were a bit hesitant. Hahn took extra care with his player and teammate Jack Curley (Sonoma, Calif./ Santa Rosa CC) came over to help and reassure the young boy that they wouldn’t let anything happen to him. Within minutes, he was shouting for the ball and laughing with joy.


The match was followed by a picnic lunch donated by The Hubbell family (Blake Hubbell). The boys and the players sat on the steps outside the pool and relived  both the UCLA match and the inner tube match that followed.


When it was time to leave there were handshakes, hugs and high fives. Fourteen very happy and exhausted boys climbed back in their vans with Pepperdine water polo posters in hand and headed home.


“This was the best day of my life!” said one of the children to Collins as he got in the van.





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