Marisa (Risa) Sundu is the co-captain of the Berkeley High School (BHS) girls water polo team. In such unprecedented times, she has had to lead her team through uncharted waters. Sundu, a senior in Academic Choice (AC), began playing varsity water polo with the BHS team in her freshman year. Because water polo is a fall sport that started two weeks before her first year at BHS, Sundu says that she was able to establish a loving and accepting community before commencing school. Her love for water polo led her to meet her best friends and form an incredible community within her team. It is evident that BHS’s water polo team is about more than just the sport; it’s also about creating a sense of belonging. This is the best part of a team sport, according to Sundu. As co-captain, she feels it is her duty to create an environment that is competitive yet welcoming. Sundu said, “Obviously we want to do well, we want to succeed. But we actually think that we will succeed if everyone feels like they’re important, [and] everyone feels like they’re contributing. I think that that is the best way for us to succeed.”
With the fall season pushed back to December, Sundu, like many BHS athletes, is looking forward to the day she can return to her team. Sundu says she feels grounded by her sports, and exercise helps to balance out her schoolwork and keep her spirits high. Now, even in this new normal, Sundu encourages anyone, regardless of experience, to partake in a team sport because the memories she’s made and the incredible community surrounding her is an experience she feels all BHS students should have.