More than 400 children experience handball at Chicago festival

Dec. 30, 2008, 12 a.m. (ET)
More than 400 children played team handball this weekend at Mayor Daley's Holiday Sports Fest in Chicago.

Partnered with the Chicago Park District and Chicago Public Schools, the annual festival allows families to experience familiar and new sports in interactive zones and tournaments. Hundreds of children lined up Dec. 27 through 29 to play team handball as part of the Chicago 2016 interactive zone, along with other Olympic sports such as archery, judo, gymnastics and rowing.

Members of the Chicago Inter Handball Club taught participants the basics of team handball during dribbling and shooting drills as well as full and half-court scrimmages. Many children, experiencing handball for the first time, lined up to play again when their matches ended.

David Beaton, 11, of Chicago, explained. "I like how you have to pass the ball. I like the team effort."

"As a parent, I endorse it," his mother, Janette Beaton, said. "Usually they're in the inflatables, just jumping around. Once they got here, they enjoyed it, because they stayed. And they're still in there!"

Women's National Team player Tabby Lowey assisted the Chicago Inter at the sign-up table Dec. 29.

"It's fun; but I want to be in there, running around," she said, motioning to the court. 

Other assistants included '96 handball Olympian Yaro Dachniwsky and his family.

Mariusz Wartalowicz, president of the Chicago Inter and technical director of USA Team Handball, already looks forward to the next festival.

"We had many children come through. Hopefully, next year, we can get more teenagers playing handball too," he said.