Well, if it wasn’t too obvious the, “Kretzschmar Signs Contract to Play in United States” article was an April Fools’ Day joke. Kretzsch has no plans to move to the USA and the LA Team Handball Club would be hard pressed to find $60 for salary compensation, let alone $6 Million. Still, if anybody had told me that David Beckham was going to sign a deal to play soccer in the US for $50 Million over 5 years I would have thought that was an April Fools’ day joke as well. Maybe some day the Handball World will try to wake the sleeping giant and make Handball something more than the blip on the radar screen it is now in the US, but I’m not holding my breath.
And maybe instead of saying blip on the radar screen, I should say blip on the heart monitor in the Emergency Room. With the recent losses to Mexico and Chile by the Women’s National team, the US has sunk to a new level in terms of performance on the court. In fact, not too long ago a 9 goal loss to Mexico would have simply been laughed off as another April Fools’ joke. This weekend the US Men’s team will seek to restore some measure of respectability for US Team Handball with their 2nd chance opportunity in Chile. Still, even with a win, a roster with several players in their late 30’s or early 40’s speaks volumes about the current state of US Handball.
Team Handball in the US is clearly on life support and in a total state of disarray. With the USOC’s decertification of USA Team Handball last year, the US doesn’t even have a Federation anymore. And while the USOC has continued to provide limited support to keep the National team programs running, this support can be described as lukewarm at best and contingent on achieving some positive results. With the continuing lack of success this lukewarm support could quickly turn very cold.
The US is staging their annual National Championship Tournament this weekend and traditionally a “Town Hall Meeting” is held to discuss the sport’s status. Hopefully, after this meeting we’ll know a little bit more about what the USOC's near, mid and long term plans for the sport are. As was the case last year, Bogdan Pasat will be on site at Nationals and we hope to make podcast recordings of the town hall meeting available on our site, as well as interviews with players and officials. Be sure to stop by and talk to Bogdan and let us know what you think about our site and what features you’d like to see added.