To an American seeing his first game, indoor handball resembles hockey played with a volleyball on a basketball court. The game was invented by an Irishman, perfected by the Swedes and has become a spectacular wintertime favorite in Europe. There are seven men to a side, the ball is dribbled and passed, and scores are made by skimming shots past a goalie tending a large, wide-mouthed net. What makes handball, European style, different from other sports is a 20-foot rule: attacking players may not set foot beyond a semicircular line in front of the goal, but they may fly over the line and get their shots off in the instant before crashing to the floor. Last week at Dortmund, Germany, a daring Rumanian team flew and skimmed to the world title.
Heavily padded goalies (left and below) spring to block shots rocketed by attackers who leap toward goal and fire point-blank at net. Broken wrists, kneecaps are common.