200 Days in the Life of the College

Thursday, October 28

A new sport from the Dutch? Game on!

By Ryan Park ’12

A simple invitation to play korfball, a seeming hybrid of basketball and ultimate Frisbee, became a commitment to something far greater than a sport. Louis Boguchwal ’12, founder of the Hamilkorf Club, tossed me a soccer ball — no, a korfball — one night in the Alumni Gym, and I was soon hooked. I didn’t yet know that korfball is a rare true coed sport, or that it’s played in 57 countries, or that Boguchwal had discovered the game his freshman year at the University of St. Andrews and brought it back with him.

Korfball is a Dutch offshoot of basketball (“korf” means basket in Dutch), played with four men and four women, a ball the size of the one used in soccer, an unusually high hoop (11.5 feet, to be exact), no backboard, no dribbling nor moving with the ball — just passing — and lots of spirit.

That first night, I found the rules baffling and couldn’t find my shooting touch without a backboard. But overnight I became a confirmed “korfer” who couldn’t wait to spread the word. I became immersed in Hamilkorf’s organizational aspects, sitting until 2 in the morning with fellow korfers plotting both practical and ridiculous fundraising schemes for a hypothetical trip to the Netherlands.

Boguchwal had big plans as well, from a Late Nite event to a commercial sponsorship. We talked with U.S. Korfball Federation board members, and we play host to one member, Carl Yerger, who holds a campus korfball workshop this Family Weekend.

As our korf-dreams grow, so does our friendship. And that’s really the object of the game.