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Bringing about relevance in handball
Handball Played across half the world
The International Handball Federation proudly proclaims that handball is played by around eight hundred thousand teams across 183 countries and it is the second-largest grossing revenue sport at this summer’s Olympics, according to Chairman of USA Team Handball Jeff Utz.
A hybrid sport
The average American may have very little understanding of handball, since it is not prominent and therefore not relevant in the local context. Even some fans mistake it to be the wall ball, wherein the players slap a blue racquetball up against a wall. Different people who have a good understanding of the sport describe it in various ways; however the best way would be imagine it as a mix of water polo played on land, and a hybrid sport that include a bit of soccer, basketball, and hockey. With six outfield players and a goalie on each side, players can take a max of three dribbles or three seconds before passing. Players that run offenses play around a semicircular crease right in front of the goal, and the defenses protect the crease using a scheme similar to basketball.
In 1996 summer Olympics held in Atlanta, the American handball team qualified for the Olympics as the host nation when it was declared ninth in position. Actually it received an automatic bid, being the host nation.
The team handball is the only sport in which the USA did not send any representation either by men or women in the 2012 Olympics. This is not surprising as this sport that may be played by young and elderly does not seem to excite the average young American much. Again it does not seem to receive much attention at the school level. The same scenario continued to the college and all efforts to grow handball at that level have also made little headway. To top it all the American team handball enthusiasts complain that their game gets scanty attention from the mainstream media and almost never appears on TV. This did happen even during the last major event such as the Olympics. It is nowhere in the list of emerging sports and in fact it lost its certification as the sport's national governing body in the United States. It is evident that at this rate the sport will be nowhere in the USA
Resuscitating the game
Most handball players and fans and the United States Olympic Committee opine that the game is way too technical and may take years to learn all the tricks and this could be the reason for limited acceptance of the sport. It is not that the authorities are doing nothing about encouraging the sport in USA. Despite the entire setback the handball enthusiasts in governing bodies are doing their best to include the sport at different levels to catch up to the rest of the handball-playing world. In the past decade, two training centers one for the US women's handball national team was established at the State University of New York and another for the men's team is being launched at Morris Brown College in Atlanta. These centers would strive to recruit young players and develop a support system at the national level that will encourage and enable Americans to practice handball full-time. This strategy is paramount for the players in the United States to develop them and make them capable of facing competition from their European counterpart.
France to encourage USA
Some countries would love to compete with US and they want it to even succeed. Take for instance, France which plans to hold a tournament for its club teams in Miami next year. This is especially done to promote handball in the US.
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