French “Handball” in the news

No, this isn’t a story about the defending World Champions getting ready for the European Championships or Montpellier’s total domination of the Ligue Nationale de Handball. While those items are noteworthy in the niche world of our little sport, the most famous French Handball ever occurred last week when soccer player Thierry Henry’s ‘handball’ allowed France to squeak into the World Cup

Google has a news feature which allows you to plug in a word to see what news stories have cropped up recently with that word in the story. This feature makes it relatively easy to see what if anything the mainstream media has to say about Handball or Team Handball depending on what you want to call the sport.

Google News search, however, is also a humbling reminder of just how low handball is in terms of name recognition. Even on a slow news day the most common mention of Handball in news reports is almost always the “handball” rules violation in soccer. Thierry Henry’s infraction caused a record in handball mentions on Google with literally thousands of stories about the “hand of frog.’ I guess that’s to be expected from the most popular sport in the world, but the 7 a side Handball version also usually falls second to the 4 wall variety with a plethora of stories frequently reported from both Ireland and the U.S. But, at least Handball (7 a side) normally beats out the Australian Rules Football ‘handball’, which is the little pass that players make when they hit their fist on the ball.

Finally, this phenomenon isn’t just limited to the English language as even French Handball fans probably recognize the irony that this French “Handball” has gotten more play in the media than their National team winning the World or Olympic Championship. This video shows that they at least have a sense of humor:

The Scotsman: Ireland cries foul over the 'Hand of Frog':