Handball, particularly in Europe, is huge. In Britain, we’re lagging behind, although the sport is growing fast, with increasing participation in schools and universities and with handball clubs also increasing in number. Nevertheless, if you asked most people, they wouldn’t be able to tell you much about this Olympic sport.
For a few years now, I’ve been on the fringes of the “handball community”, learning about the game through watching my son play, and being drawn towards this fast, physical sport both through the game itself and by the people who play it. During this time, I’ve been struck by the gap in handball provision in the Midlands and especially in Birmingham. The South East is well endowed with some great handball clubs, mainly in London, but also elsewhere. The North West region is also very strong, and have two clubs in particular, Warrington and NEM Hawks, who have succeeded in championing the development of young British talent, which is great to see. There is incredible commitment from individuals in these clubs, who give their time and energy to a sport they clearly love.
In the Midlands, as far as I am aware, things seem to be different. Not that there aren’t individuals who are committed to handball, but there seem to be few clubs to support their efforts. The main clubs, apart from University teams, are in Nottingham and Coventry. In Birmingham, at the current time, there are no community handball clubs for adults, a city of a million people. And yet there is huge potential: Birmingham has a young talented population, handball in schools is growing, and the fact that Birmingham has such a diverse population means that there will be experiened handball players “out there”. Wouldn’t it be great to see this experience harnessed to develop the talent that’s there? Wouldn’t it be great to see participation in the sport grow? This may all be a wild dream at the moment, but the potential is there! It will take several years, and will only happen in small steps, but I would love to see Birmingham become a major region in the development of handball in this country.
The time is right.