Handball has long had a reputation as a sport for life and also for connecting people across the World.
Harry Scott (78) from Dallas, Texas was attending the 2015 World Championships in Calgary, Canada when he found himself watching the Girls 13&Under Singles Final between Galway's Niamh Heffernan and Kildare's Mollie Dagg. He was fascinated by the skill levels of the young Irish players and stayed watching until the end of the game. The game ended in an agonising defeat for Dagg who lost in a tie-breaker 11-7 a result that reminded Harry of an 11-10 loss he suffered in Borris, Co Carlow in the 2003 World Handball Championships that were held in Ireland. Following the game he spoke to the Dagg family and offered some words of encouragement to Mollie as he recounted his story and they have stayed in touch since.
He attended the World Championships in Minnesota in 2018 but due to differing schedules their paths never crossed but Harry had made a promise to visit Ireland and take in some of the traditional code in the 60x30 alley.
He followed through on his promise and landed in Ireland last week and visited the Dagg family and also played some 60x30 Handball with St Brigid's Eugene Kennedy. Harry and his wife had been due to travel west but stayed around to take in the weekend's Softball Nationals in Wexford. Harry was enthralled by the skill levels on show and marvelled at the skills involved in the traditional game particularly the "Irish whip" a skill he has vowed to learn!
He has plans to return to Ireland in 2021 for the World Championships and is looking forward to taking in some more Handball on his journey before returning to the US.
It's another example of how Handball is truly a game for life that connects both young and old from all parts of the World.
Harry is pictured above with GAA Handball President Joe Masterson outside Kilmyshall Handball Club during the recent Softball Nationals.