In Romanian handball, there is no ending to anything. We never end our past season, we never quite celebrate, we never praise our past deeds, we do not end contracts and we do not look forward to newbies. Five years ago we forged our plan – winning the Champions League – and set it in the stones of Oltenia. A decade ago, we said we wanted to become world champions, meaning that all vulgar medals would be thrown upon receipt until gold would grace the Dacian landscape like in the old times.
Autumn is no time for handball. Teams are struggling to fuse, fans are getting used to searching for live streams, a preoccupied, yet dull atmosphere reigns in fora, as illustrious contenders quietly leave the ChL scene. Thank God for December and its glamorous European Championship … A weakened Eastern Europe had only Romania to save the day in the fight against the northern block. Taking advantage of a temporary amnesia that made them not so obsessed with gold any more, the girls won a bronze medal. The score 16:15 proved, once again, that we are carrying the same matusalemic battle, started in handball’s Iron Age.
The day of our ChL final, in May 2010, we said we wanted to win that aluminum cup … next season. Well, that next season came and went away in one change of a time zone, from Romania to … say Spain. There was no time for a Hungarian coach and his Turkish acolyte to take hold, no time to count left against right backs, no time for the recovery of our wounded Princess. And then, the impossible happened. Anja Andersen settled for Valcea.
What I recall are mostly emotions, pictures of an euphoric team and some outrageously clever press interviews. AND we got to see Elisei on back court positions, du jamais vu since Tadici, Anja’s biggest fan. We got to see Queen Yeliz from Skopje. We also saw a humble supporter offering his scarf to Anja. We realised that public opinion can be decent and can feed on joy, not only on failure.
Then, spring came, a silent one. Even the manager’s threats to cease payments did not cause a storm. Patience, patience and glamour will return to Romania eventually, another December is on its way. The only question is: will we be able to finish this year’s bad business in time?
Pics: Prosport & EHF