Archive for the ‘handball’ Category

Handball, and why sports here are gross

Monday, October 11th, 2010

For my first post from my project, I wanted to write an introduction as to why I chose to blog about sports nobody watches. In America, we have 4 ‘major’ sports. The way people act about sports in this country is how people listen to music in this country. There’s America’s Top 40, that everyone listens to whether they want to or not (as hard as you might try to never hear a Miley Cyrus song, it won’t work) and then anything else you have to actually make a concerted effort to find and watch. And if the sports landscape is like the music landscape in this country, then the NFL is Justin Bieber. If you watch sports, and you’re American, you can’t NOT know whats going on with the NFL. As I write this, I’m watching the Redskins-Packers game. I have watched ten minutes of actual football. The game started 35 minutes ago. I’ve seen the same commercial for the Ford Fusion so many times that if I thought buying one would shut them up, I would. While I love football (I’ve had my Steelers ‘Steel Curtain’ poster in my room my whole life) and love playing it, they have almost made it impossible to watch on TV, never mind BEING there and waiting through TV timeouts. Compared with a sport like soccer where I know I’m going to watch 45 minutes, take a 15 minute break, and then watch for 45 more minutes straight, watching 700 TV timeouts in a football game or watching a 4 hour baseball game just doesn’t seem worth it. To sum up my metaphor, I’m trying to find beautiful music in places where nobody seems to be looking.

Handball

When I talk about the sports and how they’re played, it’d be easy to just copy paste Wikipedia information, change the words, and claim it was mine. So basically what I want to do with this is tell you what I think is cool about each sport and link you to somewhere explaining everything.

My only experience with this sport is watching it during the Olympics, where I couldn’t figure out what was going on and why America didn’t even have an Olympic team. What if we just sent out the USA Basketball B squad to dominate Team Handball? They would train for like a week and then win, guaranteed. Also, another thing about Team Handball that’s awesome is the women’s leagues. The International Handball Federation has held a women’s championship since 1957. There’s even a South Korean Film about women’s handball. And for some added inspiration ladies, Russia pretty much dominates, and America just doesn’t sit by and let shit like that happen. Start training.

The best way to describe this sport is a mix of basketball and hockey. Professional matches consist of two thirty minute halves and a ten minute halftime. There are seven players on each team; six field players and one goalie. The game is played with a round ball that weighs 450 grams. You try and move the ball up the court and throw it past the goalie into the net. Players can only have the ball for three seconds after they receive the ball, and additionally can only take three steps after receiving the ball UNLESS they take a ‘dribble’ (similar to a basketball dribble) in which case they get an additional three steps (but they can still only have the ball for 3 seconds).

(This video gives you a good idea of how the game is played, especially by showing how fast they get up and down the court.)

The hardest part of the game to understand is the defense. The defensive rules are similar to basketball: if you hack someone, its a foul. If you make contact from behind or from the side, it’s a foul. Also, if you jump in front of where an attacker is going and hold your ground and he hits you, its no foul (similar to a charge). Unlike basketball though, you get an unlimited number of fouls. Committing a foul is considered a GOOD thing in many situations because it disrupts the offense and causes them to reset. This is a problem for the offense because the game is so fast and based on rhythm and counter-attacks. Stopping the play gives your defense a chance to reset and gain position on the attackers.

Scoring is by far the coolest part of the sport. It makes for awesome highlights and keeps everything interesting. Most  games have around 40 goals or more. It’s like a hockey game where the goalie is completely ineffective. No players are allowed inside the goalkeeper’s crease (a six meter area around the goal) except the keeper. However, players can jump from outside of the crease into the crease to shoot as long as they let the ball go before they hit the ground. Any other time someone enters the crease to gain an advantage, it’s a foul.

Basically, I want to play this sport whenever I can. Watching the highlights, I am immediately  interested in joining a handball league. The combination of the passing, movement, and the way the ball is scored is very intriguing to me. It’s easy to see why in the realm of sports that involve hands and balls that THIS one is called handball.

Since this was my first post, thanks for reading if you read it. Drop me some comments on how to do better/give me ideas on what else to do with this space, I know it was long but without the intro it would have been like 700 words instead of 900. Now to kind of steal my favorite blog‘s idea and give me an excuse to post cool YouTube videos, here’s a soccer goal that’s a must see from pretty recently. Enjoy.