Andrew Catalon knows more about team handball than you do

Andrew Catalon

Andrew's gotta be one of the nicest guys in TV.

The Summer Olympics started today in China. And, of course, that means wall-to-wall TV coverage. One of the people behind the mic for some of the games will be Andrew Catalon, the weekend sports anchor at Channel 13 here in the Capital Region. We bounced a few questions his way last week.

How'd you get hooked up with this Olympics gig?

I did a curling show for NBC Sports in December. And they called me up a couple months ago and said, "Listen, we have an opportunity for you to do some Olympics stuff if you're interested." And I jumped at it -- it's a great opportunity.

You're doing handball.

Yeah, team handball, which most people think is like against the wall with one hand, but it's not. It's actually water polo without the water. It's like a basketball court, six on six with a goalie. And the final scores of these games are like 30-28.

It's actually the second most popular sport in Europe, outside of soccer. So, it's very popular in Europe, it's not very popular here. The US is not very good. They were in it in '96 because we hosted.

How much did you know about team handball before all this?

(smiles) Not much. Nothing, to be honest. I have this 300-page referees' manual that's been my bible for the last few months. It's actually even hard to get information -- the rosters for Egypt aren't on espn.com. So, it's a little challenging to find the information. I've just kind of made it my life for the last few months.

So, are you just kind of like a handball nut now?

Yeah, yeah. (laughs) I guess I probably know a lot more about handball than most people in the United States right now. (laughs) Just getting the rules down... that's what I wanted to do. I didn't want to do the sport without knowing the rules. I hate when I hear that from people doing sports here. So, I wanted to make sure I got the rules -- that's been my top priority.

You're not actually going to China, so how's that going to work?

There are going to be 600 people at 30 Rock in New York City. A lot of the announcers are going to be in New York. They're taking over the whole Saturday Night Live floor studio. And there are like 10 announce booths in the studio. That's where soccer, basketball, a lot of even bigger sports, are going to be.

It's definitely going to be hard, number one, to call a game off a monitor. But, number two, which I'm more concerned about, is seeing the number to see who scored. You want to stay on top of the action... and OK, that was a goal... but there might be times when I might not know right away who scored.

And we'll be doing these games live-to-tape, so we'll have to be up at like 3 o'clock in the morning because of the time difference. [AOA: the games will be shown during the day here in the US.]

So, this is going on in China, but you're going to be in New York, is NBC doing anything to make it feel more like China -- you know, dumplings on demand or something?

That's a great question. (laughs) Until I get down there, I don't know. I know they've arranged a lot of food for us. I don't know if it'll have a Chinese flavor.

As a broadcaster, what is it like to even think about doing the Olympics?

It's a great opportunity. I've definitely been pinching myself a little bit. I just want to make the best of it and not think about what it could lead to. I just want to do the best that I can over the next two weeks. And I'm just so happy they gave me a chance to do it.


This interview has been lightly edited and condensed.

Comments

I've been in upstate NY for a year now (since Jan-08). I've not gathered enough people to begin a handball team here in the Capital.

Sometimes I train Saturdays in NYC, but recently might be going to Boston. Let's share the expenses. Call: 518-951-9895, again, 518-951-9895.

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