Handball Politics: Bush Meets Cervar

President Bush made a short stop in Croatia on his recent European trip and had the chance to meet and chat with Croatian Handball Coach, Lino Cervar during a state dinner. Cervar, who was until recently also a member of the Croatian Parliament, said that the dinner was a thrill and the Bush wished him luck in Beijing this summer.

Article on Bush meeting Cervar: http://www.javno.com/en/sports/clanak.php?id=137951

What was not said in the article, is that upon learning that Coach Cervar was coach of the Olympic Handball Team, President Bush in all likelihood immediately thought of the 4 wall handball sport played in the USA. He probably was even surprised to learn that it was an Olympic sport and I’ll further speculate that he thought to himself, “Handball in the Olympics? Squash is more deserving than handball.” It’s a good thing he didn’t get into a discussion on how do you get 7 guys on a handball court.

Of course, I could be wrong. President Bush, might have made small talking about the Champions League matches coming up and whether Ivano Balic would play for Zagreb next year. I doubt it though. I would guess that there’s probably about a 5% chance that Bush is aware that there are two handball games. He does know his American sports, but having done little travel outside the US it’s unlikely he’s ever seen a match. And this is not Republican bashing, I would give Obama about a 5% chance as well. As an avid sports fan, it’s possible on a trip to Europe he might have stumbled on the sport while channel surfing at a hotel. As far as Hilary Clinton goes, the odds are less than 1 in a 100 that she is familiar with the sport. My guess is that the most prominent politician in the USA that is familiar with the sport is California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who surely was exposed to the sport while growing up in Austria.

But while American politicians are clueless about Handball, that’s to be expected. The all time handball political faux pas has to go former French President Jacques Chirac. In 1995 the President honored the French National Team for the World Championship title they had won in Iceland. Introduced to France's iconic star with an American sounding name, Jackson Richardson, a very confused President Chirac replied, “Welcome to France” in [i][b]English[/b][/i].

Handball in America FAQ: http://teamhandballnews.com/page20.html