Raise your handball

Mark writes…

An old fashioned idea but I thought I might go and see some sport, given that it’s an Olympics and everything.
I’m writing this at the beach volleyball venue (awaiting Russia v Georgia) but last night I went to watch my new 3rd favourite sport – handball.

At both venues, there are American announcers geeing the crowd up and of course bursts of loud music between goals/points and if the break is especially long (more than a minute) then dancers and inflatable mascots burst on to the court.

One weary German handball journalist told me that if he heard ‘Hey Micky’ one more time he’d consider going home. We’ve only been at the beach volleyball for half an hour and I’m beginning to feel the same away about ‘Cotton Eye Joe’ .

The sport was good (I’m new to handball but Korea beat Denmark 31 – 30 scoring the winner in the dying seconds) but the crowds do need geeing up a bit. If you’re watching on tv look for the people in the crowd wearing matching yellow and red shirts – they’re the seat fillers and with respect, probably know as much about handball as I do.

But they do their job and clap everything- usually with those ‘clap sticks’ , regardless of which team they are supposed to be getting behind. And mixed in with the loud fans of Denmark and later Germany it does create a good, if slightly false atmosphere.

By the way, we appproached BOCOG (the organisiong committee) for some tickets to anything, anything at all, so we could invite the family who kindly hosted us on the opening night to get a bit of the Olympic experience and we could record their impressions. BOCOG was adamant ; we have no tickets left at all.

So that’s clear then, as I write this from a stadium a third full.

Stilll, you do wonder if bikini clad girls dancing to the macarena on an artificial beach in a temporary stadium which is only half full was quite part of Baron de Coubertin’s dream.

I’m starting to sound like my grandad now so I’ll turn to today’s WHY’S. Suzy and Jimmy will be your hosts and I’ll pass on their questions to you here..

14 Responses to “Raise your handball”

  1. 1 nelsoni
    August 13, 2008 at 10:29

    Hi Mark, about questions for today’s WHYS, I made a point in the other thread. It seems I may have to make it here again. I feel that China may be a threat in a different way. China is not a democracy and as such does not insist on good governance before handing out Aid (Financial and otherwise) to Countries. With Western donors always singing about good governance and democracy, most countries would rather spare themselves the trouble and turn to China which asks fewer questions. Thanks for the daily updates. Always interesting to read.

  2. August 13, 2008 at 10:31

    @ Sizzy and Jimmy
    Do you beleive that this is the best Olympic Tournament ever to be Held?..

  3. August 13, 2008 at 11:46

    Hi Mark, Madelene it has been some time. Mark please ask the chinese about their view on the Russian-Georgian crisis.

  4. 4 Sheikh Kafumba Dukuly
    August 13, 2008 at 11:59

    Mark at el., China is getting a large chunk of the discussion on the blog. I hope the Chinese use this opportunity to voice out their grievance. Talk now or forevor hold your peace.

  5. August 13, 2008 at 12:17

    Last night on the news all of the talk was about the way the Chinese had set up the swimming pool was allowing for world records to be shattered. There was much said about the new suits also. I also realized as Felps was going for the gold record that has stood something like 80 years, that there are a bazillion more chances at it then there was back then. I mean, I saw synchronized diving. Why?

    These questions arise. 1) Does technology offer an advantage along the same line as doping or taking drugs. I remember hearing that they were not going to let a double leg Amputee in the Olympics because his prosthetics gave him an advantage. 2) should world records be somehow highlighted when such obvious advantages were in place for the competition. 3)At what point is a competition not a “sport”. I remember hearing that the international chess association had won a petition to be an Olympic sport. (That was funny because they were requiring them to be drug tested. That would be the first “sport” where it might be more productive if you drug test the audience.) Hear in the states we make a contest out of everything. Can we expect to see “weight loosing”, “cooking”, “eating”, or “hair cutting” as sports in the future? How about “sleeping”? I know I could get a gold for that. I would be willing to train 12 to 14 hours a day.

  6. 6 Jonathan
    August 13, 2008 at 13:04

    You’ve got me on Baron de Coubertin, but from your description, and without comment on its propriety as an Olympic event, I’d have to say, it’s not the very worst dream I can imagine.

  7. 7 jamily5
    August 13, 2008 at 13:06

    All I will say to that, Dwight is:
    If someone is in both the eating and weight losing categories, then, we might want to carry out a drug test.

  8. 8 Arnaud Ntirenganya Emmanuel
    August 13, 2008 at 13:41

    I wished these Olympic Games could be organized in countries where hatred and xenophobia and war have a seat just like in Rwanda, Burundi, DR Congo, Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, SA, Liberia, Sierra Leone, just to name a few…the games should be organized every year just to relieve sad and wicked hearts…now you can hear everyone say something about the games, which is a good sign of tolerance, acceptance, and love

  9. 9 Meg in Canada
    August 13, 2008 at 13:44

    Maybe I should be waiting to post this once the page is created for today’s topic. But I wonder what our Chinese guests think about this:

    I think it’s fairly safe to say that Western countries see communism as inherently “bad” to put it in the simplest of terms. I wonder how citizens of China feel as they reflect on having lived all their lives in a communist country? Do they feel they have missed opportunities, are they content with the way that their country is run? And what are their views on democracy? Is there even such a thing as true democracy? Or does it only look good on paper? (as some people may argue communism does)

  10. 10 Dan
    August 13, 2008 at 14:11

    @ Nelsoni
    Greeting from Arizona were this morning it is a balmy 40C (104F) degrees. We are in the Garden Spot of a blast furnace.
    The Chinese may give out money to poorer nations without those “pesky” questions about good governance and human rights but China’s money comes with strings that eventually the receiving country is tied and bound to the Chinese such that they cannot escape or feel they can do whatever with impunity. That whatever mostly involves the brutal subjugation of its population……..or worse.

  11. 11 Arnaud Octoberbaby
    August 13, 2008 at 14:12

    When you see how far Chine has gone in last twenty years you can then come back to communism ideology

  12. 12 Dennis
    August 14, 2008 at 19:01

    New sports! That would be good…


  13. August 15, 2008 at 11:17

    i hope there be horse racing in the next olympics,even formula 1.and kiting too.i hear african horses are the toughest and fastest,no wonder bashirs janja weeds use them instead of pick ups and tanks.


  14. August 15, 2008 at 11:29

    by the way,how come losers are breaking world records in these beijing games?i wonder if watches and clocks made in china run a standard seconds and minutes duration.

    play GEMS,not games

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