Readers of this website are surely familiar with the many commentaries I’ve written over the years exploring different strategies to move Team Handball forward in the United States.
I like to think that these commentaries have served a useful purpose. To get people thinking outside the box as to what might be possible. Or, maybe to get people to think about the underlying objectives of what we’d like to do prior to charging forward with solutions.
All well in good, but I would suggest that the time is right now to do a bit more than “thinking”. To turn that “thinking” into “planning”. To start weighing different options so that informed decisions can be made on the best ways to proceed.
The impetus for this change in focus, of course, is the awarding of the 2028 Olympics to Los Angeles. This is a significant event that can serve as the catalyst to forever change Team Handball in this country. To build a sustainable grass roots base. To field competitive National Teams. To make Team Handball a sport every sports minded person in this country is aware of. And, to turn at least some portion of that sports minded public into die-hard fans.
I firmly believe that all of this can happen.
But, I also firmly believe that it’s not going to happen by accident. We need a plan. A good plan that’s the product of input from multiple sources. A plan that’s the product of a structured process that first lays out the vetted goals and objectives of the organization. Then reviews the merits of multiple options going forward based on agreed upon metrics and how well those options match established goals. And, then, and only then, moving forward with action plans to implement.
Make no mistake. This is not an easy task. Especially, if one considers the divergent views of the folks that make up somewhat nebulous American Team Handball community. Herding cats is probably easier.
But, it can be done. It should be done. Sooner or later it will be done. Five years ago the USOC paid for and organized a conference in Salt Lake City to coax USATH into taking on this task. For reasons that have never been articulated this process was short circuited and well… Let’s just say that we have what we have.
It’s not clear to me when the “sooner or later” will happen with USA Team Handball, but I’ve decided that simply waiting is not a good option. 2028 may seem like a long, long way away, but it’s not.
Here’s Where “You” Come in
I’m starting the process unofficially, but it’s a task that shouldn’t be the product of one person or even a few people. It should include input from all corners. Everyone who cares should have their voice heard. That doesn’t mean every idea or suggestion you might propose will be implemented, but it should mean that it was considered. And, you should be able to understand why it wasn’t implemented in the big scheme of things. And, in theory, being a part of such a process should then give you “buy in” as to what was decided.
So to facilitate this process I’ve set up a Google Drive with a few documents that you can review and provide your input. To start out I’m looking for feedback on USA Team Handball’s currently existing Mission and Vision Statements as well as some help in identifying high level questions that should be addressed. Not the answers to such questions (yet), just what those questions are.
For you “lurkers” out there the documents can be viewed here: Link
If you want to actively participate in the document, just send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll give you editing privileges.
What a Waste of Time?
Alright, I get it. This is an exercise which is not in any way shape or form sanctioned by USA Team Handball. It has zero authority and could be simply assessed as a waste of time. “Fan fiction” for would be handball planners.
There’s some logic to that, but not if you believe it’s only a matter of time before this very necessary step is finally taken by USA Team Handball. Because if you start such a process one of the very first things you do is review what’s been done before both for handball and for other sports. And, if we get decent representation from the USA handball community it will have some level of legitimacy. Adopting parts of it would seem to be a smart thing to do for anyone concerned with “buy in” from the most dedicated devotees of the sport.
So with all that in mind, I invite each and every one of you to roll up your sleeves and get to work. To take your bar stool pontification and put it down in words. To help lay the groundwork to forever change handball in this country.