To see handball in action, swing by the Dolphin court’s upper-level stadium seating on a Thursday evening to watch Paul and Dick’s weekly match, or wander over to a SERC-hosted Friday Happy Hour and observe handball players through the windows in their bar area.
If you are intrigued by handball, commissioner Paul Brady welcomes members to contact him. The best way to reach him is by giving him a call. His number is on the chalkboard by the court.
A new interest in women’s handball at the South End Rowing Club (SERC) was initiated by Kim Howard in 2018 and has been very welcoming to Dolphin participants as well. Fourteen Dolphin women have already expressed interest in participating in SERC’s weekly womens’ novice clinics. The clinics rely on coaching from experienced players, with national handball champion Juan Carlos Ocampo taking the lead and others stepping up as well. Juan Carlos remembers how his own game was transformed after an experienced player gave him some tips. “When you know how to hit the ball, how to move your feet and get into position, you enjoy the game more.”
Dolphin Mee Lee is a beneficiary of this generosity of spirit. “Kim invited me to come play on a Saturday. A guy gave me a ball, gloves, and goggles and told me what to do.” Now she’s hooked! “When Carlos started teaching the clinics, it brought everyone together to learn the basics, get the rules, and learn technique,” she says.
In addition to participating in novice clinics, a pod of Dolphins (Erin Figel, Mee Lee, Linda Mahnken, and Diane Walton) participated in the SERC-hosted 2018 Ladies Handball Tournament – the first such tournament on the West Coast. This enthusiasm for women’s handball has bounded over to the Olympic Club, too, and Dolphin women have joined in friendly matches hosted at the winged O’s courts.
“Anyone can excel at handball” says Tom Sove, President of the Northern California Handball Association. “You can be short or tall, old or young, …People play for health reasons, for competition, and for the camaraderie.” Friendships generated from handball is a theme that comes up often when chatting with handballers. “When I’m out on the court, I’m all business; but off the court I’ve made friends for the rest of my life. It’s one of the coolest parts [of the sport],” says Tracy Davis. Dolphins Dick Keltner and Paul Brady are themselves a testimonial to handball camaraderie, having played together for nearly 30 years.
Fun. Exercise. Camaraderie. That’s handball.