One of my
Lena Schaefer (HMM Germany)
After the dramatic soccer match between Germany and Korea during the World Cup last year, the nations battled each other again this year – but in a different sport. From January 10-28, 2019, the Men’s Handball World Championship was hosted by Germany and Denmark. While the loss against Korea in soccer is still well remembered, Germany finally had its revenge in the opening match in Berlin, which they impressively won 30:19.
Unfortunately, most people tend to forget about this wonderful sport except in the winter, where the World Championship and European Championship rotationally take place. But what makes this sport so special is that it is played in numerous countries all over the world. I would even say that handball – after soccer – is likely one of the most popular sports in Germany. And it is even more famous in Scandinavia, especially in Denmark and Norway!
Last December, I travelled to France to watch a French men’s handball league match. The name of the league is “Ligue Nationale de Handball,“ and I watched a match between Paris Saint-Germain (blue uniform), which is currently one of the best handball teams in the world, against Eastern France team Chambéry.
With Paris Saint-Germain having some of the world’s best players including Sweden’s Mikkel Hansen, Germany’s Uwe Gensheimer, and France’s Nikola Karabatic, everyone expected Paris to dominate the game. However, Chambéry played very well fought until the end. They even led the game in a few spells – the whole match was very dramatic and it was hard to predict who would win.
In the end, however, Paris demonstrated once again why they are rightly one of the world’s best teams: they won the match 26:22. However, kudos to Chambéry for their fighting spirit and never giving up.
These kinds of handball matches are the reason why I love the sport!
Due to my dad being a handball coach, I grew up with team handball and have played it for most of my life. Most people might say that the sport is very rough due to the full body action during the games, but in my opinion, it is not! Players must follow the rules of the game and the matches are always accompanied by referees. Whenever someone does not follow the rules, the player gets a two-minutes (or even higher) suspension, so the team has to play short-handed. In general, it can be said that most players treat each other fairly and with a lot of respect. If someone gets hurt during a match, it is never on purpose!
Among its benefits, handball is a wonderful way to stay fit and healthy, but it is also an excellent means to develop communication skills and learn how to interact in a team. Through handball, I have made many friendships, and in my opinion, the social benefits of engaging in a team sport are actually more important than just getting in-shape. Deciding on tactics as a team also helps in sharpening mental acuity and collaboration.
The handball community is a very intimate one: besides training and matches on the weekend, most clubs also offer various social events like Christmas parties and training camps. I hope more people come to learn about, and enjoy, handball in the future!