handball, team, or field handball, team court game. Despite its status as an Olympic sport, the game is virtually unknown in the United States. Originated in central Europe in the early 1900s as an outdoor game, it combines elements of soccer and basketball. The fast-paced play of 7- or 11-person teams has as its object the hurling of a cantaloupe-sized ball into a goal. Players may run or dribble three steps with the ball, but most advancement comes from passing. Fouls result in free throws and penalty throws.