Ooops, I mean football coverage. European football that is. Man, this is going to be rough.
To avoid further confusing my poor American mind, I've decided to devote myself to handball for now. It's a seven-on-seven, contact sport whose object is to throw a ball into the opponent's net which was easier to figure out than the rules for ice polo and more palatable than acknowledging poker as a "sport". In my initial reading, I'm finding quite a lot to like.
Here are a few of my favorite bits so far:
- Fun descriptive plays, like a "player sandwich", which is the contact/block made when a defensive player is fully in front of an offensive player while also blocking the goal.
- Modern handball was actually invented by two Danish teachers.
- You can get thrown out of a game for purposely hitting the goalkeeper in the head with the ball.
- Handball is an Olympic sport, which means the U.S. actually does have a national team
My new sport is even causing me some spontaneous statistical tics like this dorky nugget which I just wasted five minutes of my life calculating - there are 14 professional handball teams for Denmark's roughly 5.5 million people. That's just under 400,000 citizens per team. I can't think of a major professional American team sport that can even begin to approach that kind of representation. Plus, in a kind of satisfying every-man math equation, I find that making 10% of what top handball players earn makes me 10% more likely to enjoy this sport whereas making less than 1% of the salaries of top American football, baseball, and basketball players makes me... well, mad. Which is probably un-American.