I’ve always been amused with the adoption of American arena anthems at European handball venues. First it was “Sweet Caroline” and then little by little “Take Me Home, Country Roads” has gotten more airplay. I first heard it during a 2017 Kielce Champions League match and wrote this whimsical post: Link
Now it seems like it’s being played during every match at the European Championships. So much that it’s got me humming around. Yes, when my wife asked me why on earth I was singing an old John Denver tune my honest reply was, “Because I’ve been watching so much handball.”
What’s funny, is that handball is now actually being played at West Virginia University (WVU), where logically, the song first became a sporting anthem. It’s played at every American football game there and for most other sports as well.
The WVU handball side is even currently ranked as the #3 college program in the country. I doubt, though, that “Take Me Home, Country Roads” has ever rang out a handball match yet. The WVU roster is composed entirely of Middle East students who likely aren’t well versed in WVU traditions. But, maybe since the song is now a handball tradition it will get some air play.
Why not? The guy that wrote the song had never stepped foot in West Virginia prior to writing it. I’m thinking 99% of the fans in Malmo, Vienna and other venues have never visited the state. The song is clearly a state of mind, not a state of residency. But, for sure these guys now have more claim to it then any other handball fans or players in the world.