Photos by K. Thode and A. Apuzzi.
On August 5, John Wright, the national big ball one-wall champion captured the small ball title that had been eluding him for many years at the handball courts in Coney Island during the United States Handball Association (USHA) National One-Wall Championships.
Wright faced a familiar face, Joe Kaplan, also a national champion. Both players have met in previous tournaments, but not in the championship match.
The final match had to go to the tiebreaker as both players wanted to be crowned at this prestigious event.
In the end, Wright prevailed during the hotly contested weekend that showcased the best one-wall handball players.
In the women open event, Tracy Davis won the singles and doubles titles with her partner Theresa Haley.
Davis also had to go the three route game against defending national champion Sandy Ng.
Photos by Bill Fand
When the USHA Board of Directors agreed to sell USHA merchandise through distributors set up in the U.S., it proved to be a success story. But later on, the USHA distributors also saw an opportunity to sell other handball related items from other companies. Gloves, gargles, shirts and other brand-name handballs were added to their line of distribution.
Recently, the fronton balls were added to their always-growing list and now more than ever USHA distributors find themselves selling more items from different brands.
Did it make sense for USHA distributors to sell other items from other companies? Absolutely, the world is changing, the demand is changing, and all they are doing is just adjusting to the new handball world.
Why did it take so little time to convince handball players that the best handballs are the A-1?
Since the introduction of the Official A-1 ball during the summer, players around the country rallied and supported this new ball as they discovered the true bounce of this new long lasting ball.
Recently, the Official A-1 White label was tested in Brooklyn the weekend after the 1-wall nationals. Paul Angel had volunteered to run a handball tournament for women players at his local Bay 8 Park.
As in the past, the turned out was big, considering there was only a few days notice. There were 16 players who competed during a beautiful sunny day.
Most players were asked about their opinions on the new ball, and they all agreed it was the best ball around.
The ball has also been tested outdoors at 1 and 3-wall handball courts and has proven to be the best handball to date.
Do you want to read about what other people across the States have to say about the A-1 Balls?
Cinderella’s dream over.
Most photos by Bill Fand
There was no doubt in anybody’s mind that Team Gio/Rebaza was the new up and coming team in the summer season. They became a success story when they played as a team at the Mayor’s Cup, when they dismantled every team on its way to the title, including former national champions Cesar Sala and Joe Kaplan.
Their Cinderella run was put to the test when they tried to replicate their run at the 1-wall nationals.
Team Rebaza and Gio went all the way out to reach the championship match undefeated. It was the only team of the handball season not to lose a match. But their Cinderella run came to a swiftly ending and it was not painless. A member of the Cinderella team had his eye filled with tears in the moments after the final score was called out.
At the end of the game, spectators at the Coney Island handball courts clapped their hands to send Team Rebaza/Vasquez off with a standing ovation for all the excitement they helped bring the tournament. Their Cinderella story came to a crashing halt as they got hammered by defending champions, Yuber (Peewee) Castro and William Polanco.
From left: Tyree and Jurell Bastidas, Samuel Ortiz, Jose Garcia and Eric Brandman.
Photos by Bill Fand
In preparation for the 3-wall national in Ohio, team Bastidas traveled to “The Garden State” accompanied by some of their friends.
They practiced during the entire afternoon on one court as the other court was being used by old handball friends who regularly practice at these courts during the summer.
During their practice, Samuel Ortiz, a big promoter of handball, a 1-wall Committed member, and a resident of New York, showed up to encourage the players and to wish them good luck at the 3-wall nationals. “This is my first time here at these courts and was told there was some 3-wall practice today. I just wanted to wish them all good luck” said Ortiz.
“I have never been to the 3-wall nationals, but I may travel to Ohio just to cheer them up”