ChicaGO Beach Blast is Epic!

June 28, 2013
Chicago's "Bulls" team tips off against Team Germany.

Nine teams convened early in the morning of Saturday, June 22 on the sands of North Avenue beach to tip off Chicago Inter’s first ever Beach Handball Tournament. After a minor sandstorm, the often fickle Chicago weather cooperated with a gorgeous day to be outside on the shores of Lake Michigan.

Beach handball differs from its indoor cousin in that its primary focus is on “fair play”, which loosely translates into a sport that is much more focused on having a good time. Being outside in the sand, changes the game tactics. Dribbling, for example, is next to impossible. And to make the game even more exciting to watch, spectacular goals, such as 360 shots or alley-oops are awards two points!

“This one was my first time playing beach handball. I really tried to have fun. And I did!” commented Chicago player Jolanta Kunickaite. “I definitely could see myself playing this sport, just little more practice on twist shots and “kempa” [the german term for an alley oop style goal] shots and I will be good to go. Maybe just a little more sunscreen on my nose.”

Katrine Byberg Burr leaps into the zone for a shot.

Katrine Byberg Burr leaps into the zone for a shot.

Playing outside (especially on the crowded North Avenue beach) has the added benefit of being right in the public eye. Beach handball is inherently a social sport and its wild antics are sure to attract a crowd. The bleachers were often full and many passersby were intrigued by this crazy (and rarely seen) sport that they stopped to watch and ask questions. “It was really fun to see all the people stopping by and watching handball for the first time” said Aida Kulasic.

The heavy favorites and eventual tournament champions were a team mostly comprised of professional players from the German Bundesliga, including TSV Hanover, HSG Wetzlar and MT Melsungen clubs. It was clear that the German players had a bit more finesse at this fancy sport. “The German team made everything seem so easy and impressed spectators with double and triple “kempas” on the court, which just made it that much more fun!” exclaimed Chicago player, Francie Moehring.

Just like indoor, no tournament is complete without a picture of everyone in the goal!

Just like indoor, no tournament is complete without a picture of everyone in the goal!

The Bulls (a Chicago Inter players team) took second place and the Hawks (another Chicago Inter players team) took third place. “I’ve been overwhelmed with the positive feedback,” reported Inter president Jacque Messel. “The atmosphere and level of play was everything we were hoping for from a beach tournament and we definitely look forward to making this an annual event.”