Since Meghan and I both have siblings that are involved in sports, we felt this recent experience is one that they all would have enjoyed. On Saturday we found ourselves without any concrete plans, but we had recently seen an advertisement for the Rhine Neckar Löwen (Rhein Neckar Lions) handball team. Neither of us had ever seen this exciting game so we decided to get some more details. The internet told us that there was a game at 16:15 at the SAP Arena. So, off we went.
First stop was to figure out where the arena is, and if we can get there with public transportation. Conveniently, there is a stop directly in front of the arena. We took the 5 to the Wasserturm stop, changed to the 6, and exited at the arena. At this point we didn't have tickets, but assumed that like at every American arena, tickets are usually available at the door, and it's pretty easy to get nosebleed seats. After walking all the way around the arena, we finally found the ticket counter. We were hoping for some cheap nosebleed seats, but ended up with pretty decent 35 euro seats, which was a little more than we had anticipated spending.
We arrived a few minutes late, and the first thing we noticed was the NOISE. It was deafening!!! Now I can't provide any commentary on the actual game since I am still unsure of the rules, but I can say that I am glad we attended. For those unfamiliar with the game of handball, let me provide some very basic details. The field is 40 x 20 meters, with two goals at opposing ends, and a 6 and 7 meter arc centered on each net. Each team consists of 6 players plus one goal keeper and 2, 30 minute periods with a running clock. I can say without a doubt this was one of the most exiting sporting events I have ever been to.
As I watched and figured out the rules and the game play, I noticed that the game seems to be a mash-up of a number of other sports I am familiar with:
- Dribbling like basketball
- Fast break like hockey
- 2 minute penalties like hockey
- Goal-keeper zone like lacrosse
- Noise level of soccer games
If you're in Germany and have the time, definitely try to attend a handball game. It's quite a memorable experience, and one that Meghan and I won't forget, partly because of the pounding headache all the noise gave us (don't judge us for being old). We will also remember our earplugs. Before we leave Germany/Europe there a couple more sporting events we will be attending - a cricket game, a Mannheim Eagles Ice Hockey game and a Formula 1 race. If you have any other sporting events, unusual, or unique, please let us know when and where.
- Aaron -