During the Olympics, many people will watch a sport that they have never heard of before, just for patriotism’s sake. I have been doing this all morning, having viewed women’s fencing and cringing when we lost the men’s team archery gold medal by a single point. However, unlike anyone else I know, I have an interest in some of these obscure “Olympic” sports, and this year I have decided to deliberately seek some of these out. Since this is my only chance to view many of them live, I have decided to seize this opportunity. I am not just talking about track and field, swimming, or gymnastics, which most people watch. I would like to list some of these that I am interested in, and hopefully you will join in my watching these games that are usually off-the-radar.
- Team Handball: When I talk about this sport, I refer to it as “the antithesis of soccer.” It is a high-scoring seven-on-seven sport with constant passing and running where only the goalie can use their hands, and there is a scoring circle where field players cannot land with the ball. Scores are routinely in the twenties and thirties despite the games being only an hour long. I caught a quick snippet of a women’s game between Angola and I think France, and I am looking forward to watching this sport again-it’s pretty exciting. Unfortunately, neither one of our teams made it to Britain.
- Volleyball: I find its perception as a “girls’ sports” to be unfortunate, as it is a very demanding game requiring height and strength. It is also disappointing that it does not have its own professional league, men or women’s, and that the beach volleyball circuit struggled recently because of the recession. I am looking forward to watching this great sport, which is fun to play and to watch. Both of our teams are quite good.
- Field Hockey: Another sport that I wish was not viewed as just a women’s game. Although I have never had the pleasure of truly playing it, I do own two of the classic curved sticks. It’s a bit like ice hockey, only with the weird sticks, less contact, and it’s a bit longer in time. Only the women’s team qualified for London; in fact, the men’s side dropped out of their qualifying tournament.
- Water Polo: Part of my interest in this sport is rooted in the fact that I have friends who play this rough aquatic sport. Another high-scoring, demanding event, at Beijing each and every one of our men’s players was from California, where we surprisingly medaled. I hope that we can repeat.
I plan on at least partially satiating my handball and volleyball hunger this afternoon, the latter with an American women’s match against South Korea. Thank you for reading, and please comment.