Like clockwork, every four years, there’s a bump in media coverage for Team Handball in the U.S. as reporters and columnists are exposed to the sport during the Olympics. While this increased exposure is great for our sport, I can’t help but get a little annoyed sometimes at the inaccuracies and naiveté that often comes with these stories.
Case in point is the feature article that Sean Gregory did four years ago for Time Magazine. Overall, it was a very positive piece. So much so, that a line from the article, “The rest of the world knows that this Olympic sport is ripe for an American invasion,” is prominently still displayed 4 years later on USA Team Handball’s Facebook page (see photo). But, when Gregory stepped beyond his initial discovery of the game and presented some 2 second analysis of how to make the U.S. National Teams competitive the article devolved into total nonsense. I’m not certain as to whether this was intentionally done for effect, but I wrote this response commentary just to make it clear how impractical his solutions were.
So, a short memo to all the mainstream reporters out there Googling for more information about this great sport you’ve just discovered: Please do your research and don’t hesitate to contact us for more information.
Greatest (and not so greatest) hits: Mainstream Media reporting on handball
Boston Globe (25 Aug 2004): Bob Ryan: Give handball a sporting chance
Time Magazine (14 Aug 2008): Sean Gregory: Hey, America, What About Handball?
THN (14 Aug 2008): Time Magazine: Thanks for promoting Team Handball, but save us your naïve solutions
National Review Online (15 Aug 2008): Mark Corallo : An All-American Sport
THN (16 Aug 2008): National Review Online does hatchet job on Team Handball
(OK. The National Review Online isn’t a major news outlet, but it’s notable that occasionally there’s someone that actually doesn’t fall in love with the sport.)
Washington Post (23 Aug 2008) D.C. Sports Bog: Dan Steinberg: A Morning Jolt of Icelandic Team Handball:
(A great summary with several links to the numerous articles written related to Iceland’s run to the gold medal game in 2008.)
New York Times (9 May 2009): Stefan Fatsis: Team Handball Has It All, Except an American Interest
(Credit to Fatsis, the dean of main stream reporters who’ve written about the sport. This article and his periodic promotion of the sport at NPR gets the facts straight most of the time)