Lawrence Starkman – The Origins of Handball

Handball is a team sport where two teams of seven platers pass a ball using only their hands in hopes to score by getting the ball into the goal of the other team. The game has a rich history dating back to Roman times and is still played by people around the world today. Lawrence Starkman is an avid player and fan of handball.

Versions of handball date all the way back to Roman times when women would play a game called expulsim ludere. The game was also found in France during medieval times and among the Inuit of Greenland during the Middle Ages. By the 19th century the game had expanded to Denmark, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine and Germany.

The first written set of rules wasn’t published until 1906 by Holger Nielsen, a Danish lieutenant, Olympic medalist and gym teacher. The rules were changed to what is commonly used today on October 29, 1917 by Karl Schelenz, Max Heiser, and Erich Konigh from Germany. Karl later improved upon the rules slightly in 1918. Players from Germany and Belgium participated in the first set of international games for men in 1925 and women from Austria and Germany played against each other in 1930 for the first time.

The International Amateur Handball Federation was formed in 1928 after the Congress of the International Amateur Athletics Federation chose a committee to draw up official international rules for field handball in 1926. The International Handball Federation soon followed with its founding in 1946.

Lawrence Starkman is one of many fans and players of handball today.