Kabaddi, Kabaddi?, Kabaddi! and Sepaktakraw

You might think I added Eurosport 2 to my cable lineup, so I could watch more Team Handball. http://teamhandballnews.com/news.php?item.165 No, I actually got it for the Kabbadi and Sepaktakraw. More Handball is just a nice bonus. In all seriousness, last Thursday night after watching Kiel trounce Chambery (as expected) and the French Women beat Denmark (definitely, not expected), I found myself back on Eurosport 2 mesmerized by 2 sports I never even knew existed.

First up was the Asian Games Men’s Gold Medal match for Sepaktakraw between Thailand and Malaysia. This sport can best be described as 3 man volleyball/hackysack with your feet. Clearly a finesse sport in which timing is everything. Thailand had little problem taking care of the Malaysians. For more on this sport check out these links:

Next up was Kabaddi which I will describe as a cross between “red rover, red rover“, and full contact tag. Each team starts with 7 players and is played on a court about the size of a volleyball court. Teams take turns sending a “raider” to the other side of the court where he tries to touch the players on the other team and then run back to half court before they tackle him. Oh, and did I forget to mention when you are a raider you have to hold your breath and to prove this you have to keep chanting kabaddi, kabaddi, kabaddi over and over. I am not making this up! India took care of Pakistan for the Gold Medal. For more info check on these links:

So, if you think this is pretty “off topic” for a website called TeamHandballNews.com, you’re absolutely right, but I do have a couple of points, mostly for the benefit of anyone who lives in a country where Handball is well known.

– In more countries than you might think, Handball is only slightly more well known than these sports. As someone who has literally spent half his life explaining Team Handball as Soccer with your hands, Water Polo without water or Lacrosse without sticks, you can see how difficult it can be to develop a sport with little name recognition. I’m sure there are dedicated fans of these sports who do the same thing.

– For those who would like to see Handball become a more prominent sport world wide, this underscores how critical television exposure is. Somewhere in the world where Eurosport is shown there are probably a couple hundred new Kabaddi and Sepaktakraw players simply because they were exposed to the sport for the first time. I for one won’t run out and play the game, but you give me a choice between 2nd Division French League Soccer and Kabaddi, I’m watching the Kabaddi.