Women’s hand soccer

While picking up lunch at Pappadeaux today, I was perplexed by the Olympic sport running on MSNBC behind the bar. It was played indoors on a large court marked like a soccer field, and it had nets on the ground, guarded by a goalie. The players carried the ball around, though, and basketball-style dribbling seemed to be allowed, if not required. I could only think to call it “hand soccer,” because that’s what it most seemed to resemble. The other patrons were equally confused — I overheard a woman admonish her son, “No, it’s not volleyball. That’s played with a net. I think it’s dodgeball.”

It seems that it was, in fact, handball, not to be confused with (American) handball. Do we not have enough sports these days, without creating new ones by taking existing sports and changing their rules slightly? This seemed like a mash up of soccer and basketball: “It’s soccer, but you can carry the ball, and it’s played indoors;” “It’s basketball, only you don’t have to dribble … unless you want to. And the net’s on the ground.” I’m left with the impression that the best way to legitimize your otherwise-stupid sport is to petition to get it included in the Olympics. Dan speculates that the Olympics is now home to sports previously relegated to The Ocho.

3 Responses to “Women’s hand soccer”

  1. ctate
    August 22nd, 2008 09:50

    This is interesting — apparently team handball is about the same age as basketball. It was widely played by the mid 1900s, its rules were formalized in the late 1900s, and it’s been played internationally since the 1920s. This looks like yet another of those Olympic sports that, rather than being new, is a curious remnant of a much earlier time.

    Pelota was an Olympic sport at one time, too, as were both croquet and tug-of-war. Go figure.

  2. C True
    August 22nd, 2008 13:35

    Team Handball — as it is known — is HUGE in continental Europe.

    By the way.

  3. erinmak
    August 22nd, 2008 21:05

    Hmm, piled on by the Chrises. None of this changes the fact that I had never heard of this sport before yesterday. I mean, while I think beach volleyball and BMX racing are equally stupid as Olympic sports, I had at least heard of them before.

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