The Condor Bird League: A Step in the Right Direction

For the past 3 years the Condors in Atlanta have had an active Summer League for Team Handball. News, standings, and statistics are available at this link:

This league consists of 60 players on 6 teams. Each team’s roster was determined via a blind draft based on player ability. As a result each team is a mixture of veteran players and newcomers to the sport, thus providing a better learning atmosphere for those newcomers. And as the website boasts over half the players are under 21 years old. According to Mike Hurdle, this influx of newcomers can be attributed to clinics that have been conducted by former National Team player and coach Darrick Heath.

Commentary: Many Handball enthusiasts, and in particular, people who are new to the sport in the USA, have often wondered how somebody like Mike Hurdle ever got elected President of USA Team Handball. Certainly, I have been critical of many of the actions that Mike took as President and also feel that he bears a substantial amount of responsibility for the resulting decertification of the USATH.

An outside observer, with a precursory review of media articles and the decertification information posted on our website would most likely scratch their head and ask, “How on earth did this clown ever get elected?”

One principle reason why Mike was elected is that he and the Condor Organization have been doing much more than just talking about developing Team Handball. Many people involved in the sport recognized this and liked the idea of having a President someone who had also demonstrated with time and energy a commitment to developing the sport at the grass roots level. This is not to say that the Condors are the only ones who have been working hard to develop the sport in the US. But, the reality is that no other Club in the US has successfully and for an extended period of time developed a multi-faceted program with youth teams, senior teams and a city league. All too often, there is more talk than action. Players all too often retire from the National Teams, never to be seen again. Let alone spend the time and energy it takes to help existing clubs or establish new ones.

In simple terms, if the sport is to develop in the US, we need more Bird Leagues and more younger players picking up the sport. Bottom line- if you’d like to see Team Handball develop in the US, maybe it’s time to start thinking about what you can do to help develop the sport.

(Disclaimer: I played and practiced with the Condors when they were based in California (87-91) and routinely participated on Condor teams in tournaments in the 90’s and 00’s)