Cogs Recommends: #London2012 #Handball

This week’s Cogs Recommends is written by a relatively new addition to our team, technology researcher Joseph Williams, who usually can be found fra…

This week’s Cogs Recommends is written by a relatively new addition to our team, technology researcher Joseph Williams, who usually can be found frantically trying to source freelance developers to fill the vast amount of requirements that come in from our clients.

In case you hadn’t noticed, we’re in the middle of the London Olympic Games and after applying for a number of events, I was lucky enough to bag myself a few tickets to the handball.

At first, I thought, “No opening ceremony?  Why would I want to watch handball?’ I want a refund!”

Nevertheless, I made the conscious decision to embrace the sport and did a bit of background research to inform my attendance.

It turns out that handball is huge on the continent, with Denmark as European champions and the French World champions. Like football, Barcelona are dominant on the club scene. The game is basically a scaled down version of football but obviously using one’s hands. Players can run with the ball, but they must bounce it every three paces, until reaching the shooting zone marked by a dashed line. Each team has seven players on the pitch at one time, (six outfield and one goalkeeper), and each match has two thirty-minute halves with the highest goal-scoring team the winners.

So now that you know the basics of the game, I’ll let you know how my Olympic experience panned out. It was a clear Tuesday evening and after a quick drink in a beer garden with a colleague of mine, I made the short trip from Shoreditch High Street to Stratford. I had also given my spare tickets to two nephews of mine; I know, what a great uncle I am…

We all made our way to the Copper Box (Handball Stadium), stopping briefly to admire the Orbit sculpture (it’s a very impressive feet of engineering and design and better than the Eiffel Tower).

We arrived at half time of the first Denmark vs Spain game, found our seats, and they turned out to be the best seats in the house right on the half-way line. The crowd were in great spirits with Danish & Spanish flags plastered everywhere.

There was a compare organising Mexican waves, and the party was in full swing. As I slowly came to grips with the rules during the second-half, I really started to enjoy the game and began cheering like a lunatic for Denmark to secure the win. The score was tied going into the final minute , Spain missed a sitter, and Denmark hit them on the break.

The crowd jumped to their feet and then finally Denmark managed, somehow, to get the ball past the Spanish keeper – the travelling Danish fans went crazy, the Spaniards had their heads in hands. With only ten seconds left on the clock the Danes were in the lead, but then with Spain giving everything to pull things level Denmark committed a foul and the ref awarded Spain a penalty with about two seconds remaining.  They missed, and the game went to the Denmark. The Danish contingent were hooting and hollering – I shared a few hugs with Danish fans in close proximity and then sank a few bottles of Heineken in celebration.

The next game was France Vs. Argentina – not as exciting a match but a fine display by the French saw them hammer the Argies by about 10 goals. Just for the record French handball supporters are a really lively bunch.

The handball now over we left the copper box discussing a new love for the game and looking at avenues to get into the sport (probably the Heineken talking). All in all, I really enjoyed my Handball Olympic experience and recommend, should you get a chance, to make your way down there. Entry to the park can be bought for £20 online and I’d say it’s well worth it. Should you wish to play a bit of Handball, please take a look at the British Handball Association’s website for more details.

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