The Handball Drummer Bringing Handball to the Blind | Groupies


Angela is iconic. Her dedication to handball is something that we want from every fan. (MY NAME IS ANGELA POP,
I’M 46 YEARS OLD, AND I LOVE HANDBALL.) (VETEL, HUNEDOARA COUNTY,
ROMANIA) (I FELL IN LOVE WITH HANDBALL WHEN I MET VALENTINA
ARDEAN ELISEI. SHE STARTED PLAYING
IN THE LOCAL TEAM, AND I FOLLOWED HER TO ALL THE
TEAMS SHE LATER TRANSFERRED TO. SHE’S BEEN PLAYING FOR MORE
THAN 17 YEARS FOR ROMANIA’S NATIONAL HANDBALL
TEAM AS WELL. IN THE PAST 17 YEARS I’VE SEEN
MORE THAN 20 COUNTRIES. I’VE BEEN TO DOZENS OF GAMES, I’VE TRAVELLED THOUSANDS
OF MILES, AND ALL OF THIS TO ENJOY
HANDBALL. A TRUE SUPPORTER LOVES THE TEAM
NO MATTER WHAT THE SCORE. I’VE NEVER LEFT THE HANDBALL
GROUNDS UPSET. WHEN THE NATIONAL TEAM
PLAYS ABROAD AND WE GO TO FINAL TOURNAMENTS,
FOR EXAMPLE, IT’S VERY SPECIAL TO MEET
THE ROMANIAN EX-PATS WHO LIVE FAR
FROM THEIR HOME COUNTRY, AND THEY COME TO THE GAMES
TO CHEER WITH US IN THE STANDS. WHEN WE PLAY GAMES AT HOME, WE HAVE THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE
IN THE SPORTS HALLS. WE HAVE HAD 7,000 PEOPLE IN THE STANDS AT ONE GAME, AND IT’S A BEAUTIFUL,
WONDERFUL THING. SHE IS MY FRIEND, WE ALWAYS GO TO THE
MATCHES TOGETHER. SHE’S MY SECONDARY VOICE, IT’S THROUGH HER THAT
I MAKE MYSELF HEARD ON THE HANDBALL COURT. HANDBALL BROUGHT ONLY HAPPINESS
TO ME AND TO MY SON. UNFORTUNATELY, HE WAS BORN
WITH A SEVERE HEALTH PROBLEM – SPINAL CANCER. HIS DISABILITY BOUND HIM
INDOORS MANY TIMES. HE WASN’T ABLE TO ENJOY HIS
CHILDHOOD LIKE OTHER KIDS. FROM THE MOMENT I TOOK HIM TO
HANDBALL, HIS LIFE CHANGED FOR THE BETTER. I TOOK HIM
WITH ME TO THE MATCHES ABROAD. HE’S BEEN ALL AROUND
EUROPE WITH ME. HE MADE A LOT OF FRIENDS,
AND HE’S AN ACTIVE PERSON NOW.) (I WAS NINE. I HAD NO IDEA
WHAT HANDBALL WAS. I LOVED IT A LOT. SINCE THEN,
I’VE BEEN CLOSE TO HANDBALL.) (I REMEMBER HOW YOU WERE GETTING BORED OF STAYING
INSIDE.) (ESPECIALLY BECAUSE WE WERE
STAYING ON THE FOURTH FLOOR, AND IT WAS DIFFICULT FOR ME. I HAD TO GO TO SCHOOL
IN A WHEELCHAIR.) (SILVIU ROSU IS A VISUALLY
IMPAIRED TEEN WHO COMES TO THE GAMES. HE CAN’T SEE ANYTHING, BUT HE’S IN THE STANDS WITH US. IN 2015, BEFORE THE
CARPATHIAN TROPHY, I THOUGHT TO INVITE MORE PEOPLE
WITH DISABILITIES TO THE GAME. TOGETHER WITH THE ROMANIAN
HANDBALL FEDERATION, I SCOURED THE INTERNET
AND FOUND A LOCAL NGO, THE DERZELAS ASSOCIATION
IN CLUJ. IT’S A NONPROFIT ORGANISATION THAT DOES MANY GOOD THINGS
FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES. AND NOW WE’RE GOING
TO TRAINING. THERE ARE A LOT OF CHILDREN
HERE WHO WANT TO PLAY SPORTS, BUT LACK THE FINANCIAL MEANS
TO START TRAINING. SO I STARTED A SMALL HANDBALL
TEAM, ACS THE FUTURE VETEL.) (DEVA, ROMANIA
ACS VIITORUL TRAINING GROUNDS) (I WENT TO THE SCHOOLS MYSELF
AND SPOKE WITH GYM TEACHERS AND WITH THE LOCAL MAYOR ABOUT IF I COULD START A TEAM
AND COACH THESE GIRLS. OVER HERE. OK? FORM A LINE.) (SHE’S THE BEST COACH
WE’VE EVER HAD. SHE NEVER YELLS AT US. EVEN IF WE LOSE, SHE’S ALWAYS
PROUD OF US, OF HOW WE PLAYED. SHE NEVER SCOLDS US. SHE GAVE US SNEAKERS, CLOTHES.) (THE GIRLS IN MY TEAM COME FROM
THE VILLAGE WHERE I NOW RESIDE. EVEN IF THEY WERE BORN IN THE
VILLAGE, THEY KNOW NO SHORTAGES. THEY ARE PROVIDED WITH ALL THE
EQUIPMENT THEY NEED. READY? LET’S PUT THE EQUIPMENT
IN THE BAG. THE GIRLS ARE LIKE MY CHILDREN. I TAKE THEIR SPORTS GEAR HOME
AND WASH IT MYSELF. HERE’S THE FLAG I BRING WITH ME
TO EVERY GAME. IT’S EXTREMELY BIG. IT’S 20 METRES BY 14 METRES. IT’S ALSO VERY HEAVY. SINCE WE’RE GOING TO THE GAME
IN BUCHAREST WITH MY HANDBALL TEAM
AND MY FRIENDS FROM DERZELAS, YOU’RE GOING TO SEE IT
IN THE STANDS.) (ONE AT A TIME, OK? PICK YOUR SEATS.) (ANGELA AND HER TEAM EMBARK ON
A FIVE HOUR DRIVE TO BUCHAREST TO SUPPORT THE ROMANIAN WOMEN’S
NATIONAL TEAM AS THEY FACE SPAIN IN
AN EXHIBTION GAME.) (WHO’S NEVER BEEN
TO BUCHAREST BEFORE?) (BUCHAREST, ROMANIA
EXHIBITION GAME SPORTS HALL) (THE CHILDREN ARE WONDERFUL. THEY UNDERSTAND THINGS QUICKLY,
AND THEY ARE AMBITIOUS KIDS. THEY HAVE SEEN PROFESSIONAL
HANDBALL. THEY KNOW HOW FAR THEY CAN GO
IF THEY WORK HARD.) (THERE THEY ARE!) (EVERYBODY FORM A LINE!) (-HI, GOOD LUCK!
-THANK YOU!) (HOW ARE YOU, BEAUTIFUL?
WELCOME TO THE TEAM!) (I WANT TO SIT WITH YOU
IN THE STANDS.) (OF COURSE YOU’RE GOING TO SIT
THERE WITH ME. TODAY WE’RE GOING TO WATCH
THE GAME TOGETHER, AND YOU’LL SING THE
NATIONAL ANTHEM WITH ME. WE’RE GOING TO HAVE
SO MUCH FUN!) (WILL YOU GIVE ME
THE DRUM TOO?) (I’LL GIVE YOU THE DRUM AS
WELL. IT WILL BE MY PLEASURE!) (THE FIRST TIME I CAME TO A
HANDBALL MATCH WAS IN 2015, AT THE CARPATHIAN TROPHY GAME. THOSE WERE THE FIRST HANDBALL
MATCHES I EVER ATTENDED. I REALISED THEN THAT I HAD TO
COME AGAIN. AND I DID IN JUNE TO THE MATCH
WITH SERBIA. CRISTINA NEAGU PREPARED THIS
POSTER IN COLLABORATION WITH THE ROMANIAN HANDBALL
FEDERATION. IT WAS SUCH A WONDERFUL
SURPRISE FOR ME, SUCH A POWERFUL EMOTION. I EXPERIENCE THE GAME IN A
DIFFERENT WAY. IT’S A SPECIAL FEELING. I DON’T
EVEN KNOW HOW TO EXPLAIN IT. THE HALL IS LIKE A VOLCANO,
ERUPTING, AND I HAVE TO JOIN IT,
I HAVE TO SHOUT OUT TOO.) (TODAY WE LOST,
BUT WE DON’T EVEN CARE. IT WAS JUST A FRIENDLY MATCH. THE IMPORTANT THING IS THAT
THE GIRLS ARE HEALTHY. I’M EXTREMELY HAPPY. I SAW THE PEOPLE FROM DERZELAS
AGAIN, WONDERFUL PEOPLE. I WILL GO HOME HAPPY.) She brings other supporters to the games. She brings, as you see today, she brings her own kids, the kids that she trains. She gives soul.
She gives life to the stands. It’s something that we want
at every game. It’s something
that we encourage. It’s hard to handle
what she does. (WE ARE A TEAM’S
“EIGHTH PLAYER.” THE PLAYERS ARE COUNTING
ON OUR SUPPORT. WE ALL FEEL JOY THE SAME WAY. IF THERE’S ONE THING I LEARNED
FROM THIS SPORT, IS THAT HANDBALL BRINGS
SPIRITS TOGETHER.)

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