We have survived two games at the World Cup in Denmark. Yes, survival is the word, because, as far as I’m concerned, what happened there was as tragic as life itself. Painful looks thrown at each other, lack of enthusiasm and shadows of skill turned our girls into clear targets for their frantic supporters.
“Down with Voina” – “Amariei, the old lady” – “Geiger, the lost talent” – “Bradeanu, the expired” – “Bring a new generation!” – ” No Olympics for this team!” – “Neagu, our hope!”
One could put these phrases together and write a song for all those who think they know better. I believe the selection was in accordance with FRH’s (Romanian Handball Federation) strategy for this Olympic cycle. Two months before a crucial competition is not the time for radical experimentation. In consequence, you hope your established profiles will act their part and carry the team one last time. And so they did: Elisei is still the uncrowned leader, Amariei once again plays the altruistic team mate (which could not be harder for her), Bradeanu is still the patch on every position, Farcau shows that serene ability of hers that wows us still.
I would ask them how they feel. Are they tired and disappointed? Are they thinking the cherry will fall off of the cake? Are they mad at each other or at their coach? Do they fear Brazil? I am sure their answers would silence us all and I am even surer they will hide them deep down and fight like mad for the qualification.
This team misses one player from the EC 2010: Cristina Neagu. Her goals are, of course, important, but even more so is her spirit: “When I am on the court, I don’t think about injuries, to break nail or neck. I just want to win every game in that 60 minutes. I know that I am like a Lion. I love that. Handball is my life…” she said for Planet Handball. She brought to the game that kind of arrogance that only heroes are allowed to have. Our 2010 team was far from the best of the last 10 years. However, its fighting spirit, bursting through the cold of Denmark, brought home a medal.
This is what we should teach to the next generation. Teach them they have one of the most important jobs in the world; they work for 22 million individuals who, once a year, feed their life from all that is good and noble in the game of handball! Teach them to work for that moment, knowing the reward will not come from the state, or from the government, or from the sponsors, but from the heart of plenty! Teach them to worship only themselves and the ball, but to remain humble in victory and temperate in defeat!
20.09.2011 France-Romania 30:25; Spain- Sweden 19:24; Norway-Germany 25:13; Denmark-Russia 28:31;
21.09.2011 Germany – Romania 31:29; Russia-Sweden 28:21; France-Norway 34:27; Denmark-Spain 24:30.
P.S. I will try and reflect on what is happening with other teams right now. So, it is to be continued. As you know, I am particularly intrigued by new and resurrecting teams.