Golden opportunity.

The US Handball community had the unique opportunity to be part of history. The fact that most chose to ignore it comes as no surprise!

The THN forums have been filled with expert testimony and opinion on why the Miami experiment did not succeed. You see, and JR hit on this, if the event was 99% successful the media would still harp on the 1% negatives. It certainly is easier to destroy than to build something. Some of you know this damn well.

So, what really happened in Miami?

A lot, actually, and most of you were not there to see it.

Let’s start with the idea of hosting such an event on US soil.
The fact that two Americans pulled it off, despite many obstacles – most of which were US made (if you get my drift), is not only commendable but should also be preserved as evidence that one’s desire, experience AND credibility can (and will) materialize into something special and unique, in spite of rogue entities and against all odds.

The opportunity we have to criticize and second guess the likes of Zaharia, AC and the LNH was bourne out of a courageous dream. To not congratulate the principals behind the MIAMI LNH project is selfish. And in poor taste, I might add.

Plead what you will about why you were not in Miami. Excuses are like you know what. And I don’t buy them. Anymore. If there was a bag of gold waiting for you in Miami, my guess is you would have been there. I am of the belief that [b]"it’s not that people are unable to make it, it's that they choose not to make it." [/b]The 38 members of the Quebec youth teams who traveled by bus nonstop all the way from Canada to Miami. certainly proved that where there is a will, there is a way. But who cares what I think, right?

Having closely covered team handball last summer for (thank you USATH), the Miami Coupe de la Ligue was a fitting conclusion to a personal whirlwind international team handball experience. It began with France’s MNT winning the Olympic Gold in Beijing, culminated with the World Championship Title in Croatia and ended with a memorable live appearance of some of the best team handball the world had to offer in Miami, FL. Narcisse, Martini, Karaboue, Richardson and even Nicolas, to name just a few, provided me and those at the American Airlines Arena, with the perfect blend of French handball past, present and future.

The intimate setting of this event was unique even to the French fans. The opportunity to mix and mingle with their idols away from the stickum and the small handball arenas, was something the French fans, and the media, will cherish for a very long time.

With just under 12 months to go until the 2010 LNH Coupe, the Frenchies have plenty of time to analyze and point fingers. My hope is that those in charge of this magnificent event are wise enough to ignore the negative local media buzz and look to kick this event up a notch.

Harness the positives! Recognize the hard working organizers, from the leadership of AC Tellison and Cristian Zaharia on down to the tireless efforts of John Eckart and Mike Garrity – whose names will not appear anywhere besides this article – the great venue, first class accommodations, great support of the community, and build on that!

With enough time and a better understanding of what is expected from all parties involved, the LNH, Coupe De La Ligue and New World Sports should have no problems making everyone happy in 2010.

Bags of gold notwithstanding!