While most clubs at Ohio State can say they offer a way for students to stay active, Team Handball Club is one of the few that can say it sends its members to the United States National Team.
Of the club’s members, Gabe Redmond, a fourth-year in finance, has used that chance to not only represent his country, but improve his game as well.
Redmond said he originally joined the team because his brother convinced him to try out a new sport. As a club that was started by a group of friends that wanted to stay active, it has members try out casually. But some, like Redmond, quickly find a passion in what seems to be a simple game.
“It was a game we played in middle school, and he thought I would be interested,” Redmond said. “I got here and I went to a couple of practices, and I’ve loved it ever since.”
That passion has turned into a full-time hobby. Held two to three days a week, Redmond uses practices to hone his abilities. Those abilities and his unique set of athletic gifts caught the eye of the United States National Team.
“Being left-handed is a huge benefit, as there are not many big lefties that are available to play for our national team,” head coach JD Orr said. “Gabe’s a good athlete. He’s a big guy, and he’s a huge help from the defensive end.”
Redmond specifically got to compete at the Tri-Nations Tournament in Ireland in October 2019. There, Redmond said he learned a lot about the game of handball and experienced a higher level of competition up close.
“That was a really cool experience,” Redmond said. “The talent there is a lot better and that was a big adjustment. Learning-wise, I learned different formations of the game that you don’t get to see as much here just because the game isn’t as big. Overall, it really broadened my knowledge of the game.”
The tournament was a learning experience for Redmond both on and off the court. Redmond said talking to players on opposing teams helped him learn about how passionate other countries are about a sport that isn’t as popular in the United States.
“It was interesting seeing both the Irish and English teams come out, and then talking to them at team dinners,” Redmond said. “We were all embracing it and it was a great environment to be a part of.”
The experience awarded him some new insights into handball not readily found in the United States. Moreover, the ability to play overseas is an opportunity Redmond said he does not take lightly and was unlike anything he had experienced previously.
“In high school, I got to compete for Ohio state championships and even that experience wasn’t as cool as playing overseas with a brand new team of guys,” Redmond said. “It’s a very diverse team, even though it is Team USA. I was the only player on the team that didn’t speak two languages and was one of the only ones who weren’t dual citizens.”
Orr said he can see the difference in both the person and player Redmond is from his experience with the United States National Team.
Looking forward, Redmond said he wants to use what he has learned to work on the offensive aspects of his game. As a defender, he said it’s imperative to have good offensive skills to be flexible in his position.
“There is a lot of movement going on in the middle where I play, so you have to keep your head on a swivel at all times,” Redmond said. “If I can figure out how to have it all orchestrated in a productive way, then that would be great.”