The politiks of handball

This is one presidential debate topic I’d pay to watch.

McCain versus Obama on how to revive the most American sport Americans don’t know about.

Team handball still lacks an identity among all other US Olympic sports, so obsessed with medals and cereal box endorsements.
With all the increased television and web coverage, handball – as it is known worldwide — picked up its fair share of new American fans, US Women’s Softball Team notwithstanding.

With Election Day just months away, who better to chart the course of this great sport than the two presidential candidates.
Here is the setup: One moderator: Me! Each candidate has three minutes to answer the question and another thirty seconds for a closing statement.
Question: What would you do once elected President of the United States, to further the development of the great American sport Americans know nothing about – team handball?

Senator McCain: “ Bogdan, thank you for having me here today. It’s an honor to come before you and the American sport fans. I’ll be honest with you. Cindy and I are new to this sport. We fell in love with it the moment we watched the France Women lose to the Russians in Tuesday’s Quarterfinal showdown in Beijing. Immediately following the game I asked my staff to provide me with a report on handball. They came up empty. What I got was some generic hand ball stuff. You know, four walls, a small tiny ball… Not what I wanted to hear. Look, I want this sport to grow and my fellow Republicans share my vision. I am committed to signing a team handball stimulus plan as soon as I take office in January 2009. Simultaneously, I will seek the creation of a new professional team handball league with TV coverage similar to that of the Arena Football League. I love the AFL! It's so much fun. Now! Anyone interested in purchasing a team handball franchise will be eligible to receive a one time, very sizeable, tax credit incentive. America needs team handball and all business leaders must see to it that team handball is given to every single American man, woman or child. I see this as another way to jumpstart our economy! It’s a win/win situation. Additionally, under my plan, the US will be able to field a Gold medal (men and women) team handball contender – by 2012 (in London). We have tremendous athletes in this country. I am certain that we can find 14 men and women — sorry, my adviser tells me that there are 16 players in a handball team — 16 players, who can practice together for a few months and capture a Gold medal during the next five rings go-around.”

Senator Obama: “ Wow! I must admit that I am hooked on this great sport as well. See, John and I do agree on certain things… Bogdan, I have to say that developing this great American sport will not be easy. I disagree with Senator McCain. Pumping money into a sport that our children cannot relate to, is silly. We need more time, to nurture and to grow this sport, one child, one school at a time. A sport like team handball must be taught at the most elementary level and from a very early age. For example, dribbling a handball is vastly different than dribbling a basketball. These skills take time to master and the only sound and responsible way to do it is through grass roots efforts. Reaching out to our communities! Empowering those in charge with the knowledge and the means to become teachers and leaders. Handing money to the rich, in hopes that they have the business acumen to spend it wisely and with good results, will not work anymore. We have long lacked accountability and, Bogdan, the only way we can make this great American sport well… American, is through bipartisan support. We must hire qualified team handball expert professionals, with a proven track record, who will teach others the technical nuances of this sport. Conversely, we should encourage the business sector to financially subsidize the development and growth of this sport. We need a vision. And we need to stick to that vision. My family loves team handball. I played it once at Oprah’s house. After the game each player went home with his/hers own team handball court. Can you believe it? Oprah gave away 32 team handball courts. It was crazy!”

Bogdan Pasat: “Any closing remarks?”

Senator Obama: “This is not a democrat or republican or independent issue. Team Handball is an American issue and we should join forces once and for all. Accept that the future starts today for team handball. I think the US could and should win a medal in this sport in the distant future. Let’s see to it. Adopt a school! Show a kid a wing shot. Put your cigarette down and teach your son’s friends the 3-2-1 defense.”

Bogdan Pasat: “Senator McCain?”

Senator McCain: “We don’t have time for grass roots. Look at soccer. It’s been what, 20 years? It is not a popular sport. Baseball, basketball, football, golf, even bowling is more popular. We need Team Handball on TV. Having team handball on TV during the Olympics made all the difference in the world! Americans love it. They want it and they want it now. Let’s put our money where our team handball aspirations are.”

There you have it folks. Come Nov 3rd you can vote FOR team handball.
Next week I will sit down with the VP candidates, whomever they’ll be.