From the "virtual" mailbag.

I've mentioned to our US readers that I am often flooded with emails containing some very tough questions. For the most part I have tried to answer those questions individually. It was certainly easier and more… personal. If and when I was unaable to provide an answer, I would often seek it from those in the know.

This Thanksgiving, for your reading pleasure, I thought I'd go back into my mailbag and post some of the questions and my answers, for everyone to read. I shall refrain from naming the source of the questions, however I will name the geographical location of that inquiring mind.

Q1: Why is the USOC so secretive when it comes to releasing team handball information. (Idaho)
A1: I too thought that they were secretive. I am now convinced that they do not have the personnel to handle the necessary communication to an ever-so-dwindling US team handball community. The easiest way to get answers is to contact those in charge, directly. That will not assure you of an answer but it will allow you to open the lines of communications directly to the source(s). At times, THN has done a good job getting some "one on one" interviews with key US Team Handball political players. While some of their answers were fluff, THN has always been able to, at the very least, get those principals to go on record on certain topics.

Q2: WNT has a great website but nobody posts the juicy stuff in there? Like, why is Dawn Allinger the head coach? What happened with Christian? (New Jersey)
Q2: There are two answers to your questions. The first one, the official one, confirmed by everyone involved with the WNT program is that there was time for a change and Dawn was the logical choice. The unofficial one, however, plays out like a daytime soap opera. It has everything from backstabbing, to personal dislikes, to power trips and egos… My guess (and it is a guess) is that the truth is somewhere in the middle. It matters very little how and why it happened. Let's hope that the WNT can get some positive results in the upcoming qualifiers. All will be forgotten. (note: I replied to this email before the WNT's failed qualifying event in whatever third world country they played in…)

Q3: The Nationals this year (note: Delaware) were not as good as they were last year in Houston. I see the same people organizing the event. I was told that here is no USAT H F. Can you explain? (Illinois)
Q3: Not sure why you felt that last month's Nationals were worse than those of 2006. If you are referring to competition, I would agree. Less teams means less talent. Notable absentees such as the Condors (Men) and ATH (Men) had a lot to do with it. The fact that the MNT was in Chile fighting for a spot at the 08 Olympics had a lot to do with the watered down level of competition as well. On the other hand I believe that West Point, NYTHC, Miami and Chicago had more than provided some great handball matches. On the women's side, where it was all Chicago (and their Eastern European contingent), it would have made very little difference. You may want to clarify what particular area of the Delaware Nationals was not as good as last year's. To answer your question re: the organizers I will have to tell you what they told me: they are all volunteers and are doing it for free and for the love of the game. If next year you would like to be part of teh org. committee, drop them an email and pray that you wil be included.

Q4: I do not have time to practice handball but I like to play at tournaments. Which tournament are better? (Utah))
Q4: Your best bet is to check with your nearast team handball club in your area. In your particular case Salt Lake Warriors. Ideally, you would want to attend the same tournaments they do. It will be alot easier for you to get playing time, especially if you are willing to travel. In terms of tournaments, I have attended a few and I think that for the most part, they all do an adequate job hosting them. My personal favorites are Miami, West Point, Chicago and Atlanta. They all feature no more than 4 teams. One game a day each on Friday evenings, Saturday afternoons and Sunday mornings). Each one features IHF rules matches (2 X 30 minutes halves), regular size courts, good officiating and extraordinary facilities. I would also like to include Chapel Hill (UNC) on that list, as they run both women's and men's tournaments every six months. The only difference is that they often play 2 X 25 minutes halves to accommodate around 10 particpant teams.

I will dig up some more q&a for you.

In the meantime, don't hate. I always love hearing from those of you who can spell. Keep those question, comments and complaints coming at

Happy Turkey Day!

One thought on “From the "virtual" mailbag.

  1. I would just add a couple of points to Bogdan’s answers.

    1) Communication: I agree with Bogdan, if you ask a question, you’ll get an answer. Sometimes, though you don’t know the right question to ask, which is why press releases and even informal updates to websites are needed. Short handed or not the communication could be better. Let’s hope the new Federation makes a point to get the word out more frequently.

    2) Official Sites Self Reporting: When official organizations report on themselves, whether it be a sporting organization, business or news services, it is often lacking in candor and details. That’s to be expected though and why independent reporting is important. When you add to the fact that the Women’s National Team site is run by some of the players reporting on a coaching change with any level of objectivity would be practically impossible.

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