We here at the Sideroad
sports department are committed to keeping
our public up to speed on the latest news in
the fast-paced, cutting edge world of sports.
What I, in particular, like to do is
introduce people to new and exciting sports.
The world of sports is like like a virus;
it is continuously mutating. Of course, you
don't need to go to the doctor and get a shot
every year to prepare for rowing season.
Anyway, as I was once again doing research
for this week's column, my curiosity was
aroused by a strange sport catching on in
Europe. A sport called. . . Korfball.
Now if there are any Europeans reading
this column, I realize most of you already
know about Korfball. However, we squeamish
Americans are as afraid of new sports
entering our athletic landscape as we are of
"nekkid people." Forgive me if you
don't get a lot out of this column.
Korfball is a sport that will resemble
basketball, soccer and volleyball to most
According to the Supernova
Korfball club home page there are eight
players on each team; four on defence and
four on attack, but after every two goals the
players change positions: attackers become
defenders and defenders become attackers.
Goals are scored through a basket that stands
11 1/2 feet (3 1/2 meters) above the ground,
two-third distance between halfway and the
endline allowing play to continue when a shot
Now, the next rule resembles a sport
played a lot in America, ultimate frisbee:
players are not allowed to run with the ball,
creating dependence on players finding space
But, the most interesting aspect of
Korfball is that it is a mixed team sport.
Each team has four men and four women. So,
what you have is two women play on defense
with two men, and the same configuration on
Personally, I can't think of any sport
that puts men and women on the same surface
actively competing against each other. It's a
concept that would probably baffle most
mainstream sports fans.
Women's sports are catching on all over
the world. The success of the WNBA in America
and the dawning of the Women's World Cup
Soccer Championships, which began only in
this decade, proves that.
But, for the most part, women and men
don't compete against each other in any
physically demanding sport, especially one
that has the potential for contact. We do see
mixed tennis on occasion, but the pace of
that sport is much slower to the casual
observer than men's and women's singles.
There is also the Colorado Silver Bullets,
a women's baseball team that travels the
country playing men's minor league and old
timer's teams, but this has as the
resemblence of a travelling circus. In the
world of athletics, we've long held on the
"seperate but equal" concept.
However, korfball isn't really all that
new. According to the Supernova web site,
korfball was developed in Holland in 1902 by
Nico Broekhuysen, a teacher in a mixed school
in Amsterdam. Since the sport's conception in
the early 20th century, Korfball has always
been a mixed sport.
Through the eyes of an American, this is
truly a novel concept. Furthermore, a player
cannot score if they are being defended by
someone of their own sex. The sport was
specifically designed for women and men to
I live in a country whose athletic
landscape is dominated by American football,
a sport so physically dangerous that the
players wear more armor than combat Marines.
In order for a female to be on the field,
they have to be jumping up and down,
screaming cheers half-naked in Green Bay,
Wisconsin in December.
Something seems a wee-bit wrong here. I
don't think we'll see a woman on the
defensive line in the National Football
League soon nor tending the net in the
British Premier League.
In a world where competition and teamwork
has been segregated along gender lines for so
long, it is encouraging to see a sport like
Korfball gaining popularity.
Here's a korfball site to
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