Handball – “Home is a feeling, not a place” – Sport

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Coach Matthias Obinger has to leave the Rimparer handball team.


Interview from Sebastian Leisgang

“The wolves have become at home in Würzburg,” says Matthias Obinger, “but their roots are in Rimpar.” Homeland is a big topic – with Obinger and the Wolves, who say their coach has “a sore point” since the team played in Würzburg; Finally, some supporters have accompanied the move to the city with suspicion. Since 2015, Obinger, 39, trains the wolves. Since his contract is not renewed, he has to say goodbye to his home club after this season. Even now Obinger knows: He will not be able to suppress his tears when the last game is played.

SZ: What does home mean to you? Matthias Obinger: Homeland is a feeling for me, not a place. Therefore home can be outside of your own four walls. When I drink a beer in Australia in a replica Hofbräuhaus, it might taste different than at home, but it can be home.

So your home is not Rimpar, where you grew up? Not Würzburg, where you live now?

But. Because I associate the feeling of home with these places. An example: My half-sister lives near Darmstadt, my two half-brothers still live in Rimpar, but not in our parents' house anymore. Nevertheless, the door is always open literally. The kitchen is the focal point for all scattered children. My stepfather stands by the coffee machine all day, making coffee for anyone who walks through the door. And if I only have ten minutes before a training session, then I just drink an espresso. That too is home for me.

Is it any different to be a coach at your home club instead of any club?

The striking difference is: the binding is narrower. In Rimpar it's like this: I've been friends with our goalie Max Brustmann for decades. My stepfather is a department manager in the club, my brother helped build a fan club for the wolves. That is very, very special.

What is your connection to the fans?

Of course I can not assign every face, but there are always funny encounters. Recently I was in the post office, when a man addressed me: He knows me, I'm the Rimparer trainer. He used to play football with my dad. In this respect, the clocks tick differently here.

Because it is still family, although Rimpar has long arrived in competitive sports?

Yes. What happens in Rimpar is an exception. The club manages to retain players for years, even over a decade. Also on the coaching position there is continuity. Rimpar has only had three coaches in the last twelve years: Heiko Karrer, Jens Bürkle and me. I am not one who thinks at short notice. I want to move things, initiate processes. That's why it was so good between Rimpar and me.

In the summer you have to leave your home behind. At least your home as a handball coach. Will you shed a tear to say goodbye?

Certainly. It's still a long way off because we still have nine games to go, but it's sure to be very emotional because in four years we've been through virtually all four seasons: spring, summer, fall and winter. We had difficult times and weddings. This shapes.

Is it hard to say goodbye?

It has been known since the beginning of October that my contract will not be renewed. That's why it's time for me to say goodbye.

How are things going after this season?

I have not made a decision yet. But I have a job that fills me, and a family that fills me. That's why I'll probably do nothing at first in the handball. At the most, if there is still an offer that appeals to me.

Can it be that you never again look after a team?

Who knows? I thought that too.

Maybe one day you will return to Rimpar, to your homeland.

One should never never say in life, but I believe that it was then with Rimpar and me.

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