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Aug 00

Handball Responses

Fuzzy had this to say – and I quote, “Stu over at Comments (0)”. I think his news publisher is stuffing something up because there’s still a reference to my old URL in the code there :) Something more meaningful beneath:

Ahh…the memories…

I didn’t play much in primary school — my handball career started in Year 7 (and finished about mid-way through year 9). We had some different terms but the essentials were the same. The serving square was “Ace”, not king (and consequently one had to serve to the “old ace” — but only if the former ace remembered to make this call before the serve was made). If play was interrupted the call was “intos”; a player had the option to reject a serve if it was unreasonable (so the point would be played again).

“Slogs” were commonly called “power shots”, although I later conied the term “wanker shots” as the people who used them were commonly very pretentious, well, wankers — it didn’t take much skill to learn to do them, and they were very difficult to return. The real skill was in beating someone *without* using them. Four players arranged in a 2×2 square was a very rare occurence; usually the games were conducted either in a nice nook which had 2 obvious squares and walls on 3 sides (for rebounding), or in the long corridors around the quadrangle. [Image]

You can see in the back of the photo (the wall roughly opposite the camera) contains a corridor behind it (going along the wall). That’s maybe 50 metres; often we used half (up to the middle arch) or more of the corridor, sometimes even playing around the corners. This made serving to “old ace” quite difficult: you had to bounce the ball so that it would travel some 30 metres, and be reasonably enogh to be accepted by the old ace. And you only got 3 faults; if you couldn’t do it in 3, you went to Dunce and the Old Ace was reinstated (of course he now had to serve to *you*). It got to the point where the square before Dunce served it to the old ace.

There were other square names too: the one below (in rank) ace was King, then Queen, and, optionally, Jack. If there were more than 5 players, however, square names were often disregarded. Another rule often used was “poison” — if a player was for some reason distracted from the game (eg. to tie a shoelace), they could call poison, and the others would have to hit around or over that square; anyone hitting it into the square would become Dunce.

Yet another variation was the “full played” rule: if someone did a full, and you failed to notice and continued playing the point, they could catch the ball and call “full played”, shafting you into Dunce. If, however, they were also too vague to notice that you played a full, it would be “forgotten”.

Sometimes, when we had 3 walls are were feeling really bastardly, we made a bounce off a wall count as a bounce; if the ball bounced off a wall in your square, you would have to hit it before it made contact with the ground – very difficult. A very skilled shot from the ace square in the nook with 3 walls (in ace, a wall would be behind you and on either side) was to, when the opponent (deliberately) hit it hard enough to make it bounce off the back wall on the full, to touch it as it was returning without disrupting its course enough to send it out, but enough that it bounces in your court after you hit it (but, of course, you could hit it into the wall…)

So ends my treatise on handball…ahh the memories. Oh, and handball is an Olympic sport?!?!

Poison! I’d forgot about that rule… and yeah I remember doing all sorts of stuff using walls to rebound balls and stuff. We had a nice long court in school which was bordered by a slanted glass wall looking into the indoor pool – great for rebounds. Another rule I’d forgotten – borking. It permitted you to go into someone else’s square and distract them however (as long as you didn’t touch them or the ball), and of course, you had to rush back into to your square afterwards. And yes, handball is an Olympic sport – but I’ve got no idea as to how that is played.

I’ve seen a version played here in Rochester, New York where there is a wall, ball, and group of kids. The ball is thrown, and returned, but if you botched the return you had to run to the wall before someone threw the ball and hit you with it. If they hit you, you would have to stand facing the wall, while every other player would take turns throwing the ball as hard as possible at you. It’s a rather violent version, but haven’t you ever played welt ball instead of pingpong?

Yes! Yes! I remember that now… I can’t for the life of me remember what it was called here… wall ball or something? There was a great court we used to play at – the area was called by the school as the “Greek Ampitheatre”. Stage at front backed by a slightly concave brick wall, with layered steps (where audiences would usually sit) extending back.