Sweden just came 4th in the 22nd World Championship of Handball. If you're reading this from America, you may be having a hard time picturing what a handball game looks like, much less knowing that the world championship just ended (as I was a few weeks ago - or am I on my own for this one?). If you're reading this in Sverige, you know it's a big deal.
And so I have recently learned the game of handball.
By learned, I don't mean physically played. The game is super tough and takes a lot more coordination that I think I'd ever manage. But I have:
a) become aware of the sport's existence and
b) developed an appreciation for it
Handball is a fast-moving game sort of like basketball, but players dribble the ball every 3 steps and instead of tiny baskets, there are huge nets....errr goals I mean, to score in. And contact. Elbowing, dragging, practically tackling each other. My colleague played for years in her youth and broke all 10 fingers (at least once) playing handball. Players get pretty beat up - and then they play the next game. There was even a guy who broke his nose and was out playing the next day. And that, my friends, is why I don't play the game.
Besides the fact that it wasn't an option growing up. Not for me or for anyone I knew.
But Sweden used to be the best team in the world in the 70's and 80's, and still competes with today's top teams. That's why the world championship - the Handbolls-VM is such a big deal for them. And it took place in Sweden this year!
Sunday's game against Spain was close for the whole 60 minutes and ended 24-23 Spain, leaving Sweden with 4th place. And on Sunday night, France took the gold. Who knew the French were so good? They've defeated the world in handball once again and it will be another 2 years Sweden has a chance to fight for the honor. At least I have the Super Bowl to look forward to... that is, if I can stay up until 4am next Sunday.
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