By Keili Bartlett
The Seadogs are Dalhousie’s Co-ed Intramural European Handball champions.
But most people don’t know what European handball is, much less follow it. There were no fans in the gym for any of the three games in the finals.
European handball is a fast-paced game, similar to soccer, except that players can’t touch the ball with their feet. Instead, they dribble the small, almost volleyball-sized ball, and can only run with it for three steps before having to pass or shoot. A black area called the “key” surrounds the net. Players on neither team can step inside the key while they hold the ball.
Handball is occasionally taught in junior high schools in Nova Scotia, but rarely takes up more than one gym class.
Undefeated team a no-show
The Seadogs and Bobie, who played against each other during the final game of the championships on Sunday, caught a lucky break when DalMed, the first-ranked team of the league, didn’t show up.
DalMed was scheduled to play the first game of the playoffs on March 24th, against Bobie, the fourth-ranked team of the league. But after an undefeated winning streak of seven games, DalMed skipped the finals altogether.
They were eliminated. As a result, Bobie, their would-have-been competitors, went to the final match automatically.
Jarett Richardson, who plays for Bobie, said he was pretty disappointed about the forfeit. “It happens to us every week. It’s pretty low-commitment. We just continue to show up.”
Richardson said this was the fourth or fifth forfeit his team has faced this season.
“This season is a lot worse than last season,” said Taylor Quinn, the handball referee. “I’d say the average week we have at least one forfeit, usually. The rough winter weather has been a factor. I’m very surprised that DalMed didn’t show for the semi-finals today.”
Action in the semi-finals
The second game of the day was between the Seadogs and the Multiple Scoregasms, and was played as scheduled.
After an almost non-stop game, the Seadogs came out on top, winning 15-9. The Multiple Scoregasms had been fighting to score the whole game, occasionally coming close to overtaking the scoreboard, but it was always just out of reach.
Finally, the finals
Then the Seadogs and Bobie took the court for the final; The second-ranked team in the league versus the fourth.
The ball was thrown high in the air, marking the beginning of the game. A player from each team jumped to pass it to their team, but the ball fell between the two of them. Nobody had touched it.
As both players realized what had happened, everyone in the Studley Gym laughed.
After its initial fumble, the game picked up a rapid pace. Both teams scored a point within the first minute of the game, but again, the Seadogs triumphed with a score of 13-9.
A friendly game
After the championship game, William Burt, who plays for the Seadogs, said that he was thrilled that DalMed had forfeited.
“We play them sometimes and it gets very rough, so to play a team like the Bobie team we just played, that was really friendly. A true, recreational intramural type of game was refreshing and fantastic.”
“The finals were really exciting,” said Quinn. “The teams that were in the finals, Bobie and the Seadogs, both really enjoy it and they have a lot of fun playing intramurals, which I think is the most important thing. They’re competitive, but they’re fun. It was just great to see two teams that always had a smile on their faces playing for the championship.”