Thursday, May 14, 2009

NYT is all about international sports this week

So first there was the profile of Carla Suarez-Navarro, a lesser-known Spanish tennis player and now I see an article about team handball and why it should come to the US.
These efforts by the NYT to diversify its sports coverage is quite refreshing, especially given the crazy emphasis right now on men's baseball, men's hockey, and men's basketball--especially because I live close enough to Boston to have to hear about all three--all the time.
But this team handball article was quite interesting. I, too, like many others caught some of the Olympic matches that were shown last summer from Beijing. I have always thought of handball as a game played on the playground at recess, but these athletes were clearly not playing the same game I had pictured in my mind.
And the Olympic coverage of the sport intrigued other Americans apparently. Handball has always been seen as a European sport but, according to the other and likely the biggest American fan, it has all the elements American like in their sports: a ball, running, hitting, throwing hard, and jumping. Maybe we just need to get over the fact that it looks a little like a game you played in gym--oops, sorry, Physical Education. But, hey, we all loved (or hated--there wasn't much in between, I suppose) dodgeball and this has some of the same components--except you aim the ball at a net. But it does have a person in it trying to stop you!
And Americans do indeed play the sport. The national club championships were held last week and the US does have a national team but neither the men nor the women have qualified for the Olympic games in quite a while.
Maybe things will change.
Regardless, kudos to the NYT for even doing a story on a "non-American" sport.

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