Before living in Germany I had never heard of handball. During one German lesson, a classmate mentioned it and I questioned it, honestly thinking she’d made it up. The teacher swiftly informed me that I was wrong, and it turns out the whole class knew about handball except me. I didn’t think it was even a thing in the UK, but a quick Google tells me there is a Premier Handball League and everything! This all goes to say that handball is extremely new for me, and that’s why I decided to watch a match to see what all the fuss is about.
Played over two 30 minute halves, handball is a cross between football and basketball, where players have to throw the ball to each other and score a goal in a net. Unlike when I watched baseball where I had a cheat sheet of the rules, I went into handball totally cold, trying to pick it up as I went along.
I tuned in to the first round of the Handball Champions League in a match between Zagreb and Kiel. As with most sport at the moment, it’s pretty weird watching it without the sound of a crowd, and I think this goes especially for anything being played indoors. The lack of atmosphere really did not help my enjoyment of handball, I found the first half quite boring and became easily distracted. There was something about it that just wasn’t that interesting but I couldn’t put my finger on what.
As the second half started, I warmed to it a little. I began to pick up a little more on the skill involved and loved the crazy shapes the goalkeepers make to try and block a goal. Their goals are roughly the size of a hockey net, so they really have to make themselves as big as possible. Despite this, I still felt like there was very little drama in the game, nothing really to latch on to. My husband said it could be because there is no tension to see if the ball will make it in the goal or not, such as when a basketball hovers just above the net. There also seemed to be a lot of players on the pitch (I’m not sure what it’s called?) at one time, so it became a bit “busy”.
I know this reads as a grumpy account of handball, but although I could see the skill and athleticism on display, I’m afraid it did nothing for me. Not a new thing I’ll return to.