What strange European sport is this?

So, I’m watching Hungarian news on SCOLA, just for the hell of it.

During the nightly sports coverage, there was a few minutes showing highlights of a rather strange game; nothing I’ve seen or heard of before, at least. It was played indoors, on a wooden court. There were large nets on either end of the court, guarded by goalies. Players where throwing the ball betwen each other; it looked like soccer or lacrosse, only players were using their hands to throw and catch the ball. The word “RUKOMET” was overlaid on the screen while scenes of this sport were shown.

Googling “RUKOMET” resulted in this, and other links to Web sites in languages were vowels aren’t used and words frequently end with the letter “j” and “z.” Nothing in English.

So, what the hell are they playing?

Team handball. Believe it or not, it’s an Olympic sport.

Thanks! Wrong forum, I posted this. Could a mod move it to GQ?

Handball is actually a very popular sport in Europe - especially in Scandinavia, I think. Handball is also played to some extent in Africa and is popular in Asia as well. The USA has a national handball team, needless to say they suck the big one. You’ll probably see handball on most European TV news these days since the European Cup is taking place. Us Icelanders didn’t deem it win-worthy this time around so we went home after three games but I think Croatia, Denmark, Sweden and Slovenia, the hosts, are the teams in the quarter finals.

So moved. *

  • Parliamentary pun.

So moved. *

  • Parliamentary pun.

Sweden are out of it after doing spectacularly badly for the second championship in a row (they came 13th in the World Championship last year).

As a Brit I find it all very strange as I have never even seen the game before coming here, yet here the exploits of the national team is front page news.

From my exposure to handball in Germany, where it is also very popular, it seemed to fill the niche otherwise occupied by rugby in the UK.

I can see why its indoor status may hold an attraction in more northern Europe.

There is a similar game played in grade schools (and some highschools) in Ontario Canada (I can’t speak for other parts of NA) called Borden Ball

I played team handball somewhat regularly in gym class in Massachusetts public schools in the 90s. It was a favorite of mine, as well as most of my classmates.