I decided a while back that I wanted to experience at least one event as a spectator – not wearing uniform, not being stopped by people to find out where something is and to be subjected to the full brunt of Olympic food prices (OK, not strictly true, I bought my own lunch in 😀 ).
When I saw that handball tickets were on sale, I found myself really tempted. I was aware that handball was a popular event in a lot of countries and many people who have seen a game have enjoyed it. For £20, I thought “why not?”
I got to the Olympic park a little early (well, 3 hours in advance!) I explored the park and it was only then that I realised the sheer scale of it – it took me about half an hour to walk from the entrance to the basketball arena! Obviously it makes sense that the venues have a bit of breathing space for crowd control purposes, but it still surprises you.
Eventually, I made my way to the Copper Box (the venue for Olympic handball) and waited for the doors to open. While stood here, a loudspeaker informed us that the venue is “not called the copper box for nothing” and is covered in 3,000 square metres of copper cladding – thanks loudspeaker, that was actually pretty interesting… the first time I heard it! For the half an hour or so I was waiting to get in, I heard this little fact about 15 times!
Anyway, handball was far more exciting than I expected – I think they may have converted me into a handball follower! For those of you who are not familiar with it, handball is a mashup of a few different sports – the ball handling of basketball, the goals of football (and the brutality of rugby!!) There are also a lot of goals scored in a game.
I got to see two games; Great Britain vs Russian Federation and then France vs Spain (both women). Obviously my support went to GB, but I was disappointed when Russia managed to score around double what GB did – a valiant effort nonetheless, especially considering that handball is not commonly played in Britain. France and Spain managed to draw, and they seemed pretty evenly matched.
Whenever I’d been watching sports matches in the past, and seen shots of the managers or coaches watching from the sidelines, I always assumed someone was watching them through a telephoto lens. So you can imagine my surprise to see how close the cameras actually got!
To be honest, I’d be pretty annoyed with a camera this close to me. I’d also find it difficult not to acknowledge it! So glad I’m not important enough to be subjected to this. 😀
In future, I think I may be watching more handball – this has definitely got me interested!