Jurell Bastidas played superb on July 13-14. He beat everyone on his way to the finals against his little brother Tyree.
On the other side of the draw, Tyree Bastidas was making sure he reached the finals for the third consecutive year. Both brothers met at the final game for the first time, where Jurell made sure he walked away with the title.
It wasn’t easy to predict the outcome for this game as Jurell had stepped up his game with his monster serves that were impossible to return during the entire weekend.
Some players had told us that Tyree would win easily as the most experienced player. But we’ve told them that Tyree still considers his brother Jurell, his biggest threat as Jurell knows more about Tyree’s game than anybody else since both brothers practice together at the same park.
We usually see a lot of bets going on at the finals of the Mayors Cup. But this time no money at all exchanged hands at the end of the men’s finals as no one was betting against Tyree.
We don’t think so, but like every year, the 2012 USHA Dinner Award brought some members of the Association good news and others not-so-good news. There were names we were pleasantly surprised to see on the list of nominees, and some that were noticeably absent (Tyree Bastidas for his gut-wrenching performance in all three handball versions).
We have been asked numerous times; Why didn't Tyree get a nomination for an Award in 2012?
Our answer has always been: The USHA only nominates the best 1-wall players (men, women and juniors).
In tennis, the sport doesn’t nominate who the best grass-court player is or who the best clay-court player is. The nomination usually goes to the best all-around player in all four different courts.
We understand the USHA is doing its best to honor the best players of the year in each category, which encourages the players to keep doing their best in their respective category, but it lacks the most important nomination “The best all-around player”.
The best all-around player Award would encourage players to cross over to play in other handball versions, and challenge other players they wouldn’t have played at their local town.
We believe the USHA one day would realize that honoring the best all-around players will help foster more participation and more traveling around to other handball tournaments.
In 2012, Tyree (22-years old) did accomplish a great Milestone in all three handball versions that included national, international and world titles and got not recognition for it due to the lack of this Award.
This Milestone has only been accomplished by a handful of players in 63 years of USHA existence.
Tyree Bastidas ‘2012 handball season achievement:
One-Wall – played championship (World Championships) matches in singles and doubles.
Three-Wall – played championship (USHA) matches in singles and doubles.
Four-Wall – played championship (CHA) matches in singles and doubles.
We are confident the USHA one day will offer this prestigious award in the future.
Gio Vazquez, the defending King of the Court played as sharp as a champion and proved to be a strong force during the first couple of games on his way to remain on the throne. But after playing his third round a lot of players and handball fans surrounded the court to watch him play.
Mixed emotions were running high as many of them cheered for him to win while others wanted him to lose.
“It has to do with his behavior and the bad rap he has gotten since crowned last year” said Michael, a handball player.
“People shouldn’t judge him for what he does off the courts” another handball player said.
“The King of the Court shouldn’t be an embarrassment to the big ball community. He needs to clean up his act if he wants to represent us” said Peter, another handball player.
Cisco, one of the top big ball players in the last decade, had the courage to execute the daunting task of taking the king down to leave the doors open for a new king to be crowned at the end of the day. Cisco made Gio paid dearly after defeating him 21-17.
In the past, the 1-wall nationals had many famous players from other states who came and tried their skills against 1-wallers.
The Legendary 4-wall champion Jimmy Jacobs came to New York and play in the 70’s. National 4-wall champions Tati Silveyra and Naty Alvarado Jr. came to try their luck in the 90’s. National 3-wall champions John Bike Jr. and Vince Munoz also made sporadic appearances while Canadian 4-wall champion Danny Bell played in two 1-wall nationals.
They all had fun and came back more than once to try to capture the national title.
Nowadays, we have current 3- and 4-wall champions; Sean Lenning and Paul Brady, who refuse to play in the 1-wall nationals. Why?
Sean Lenning; There is no doubt Mr. Lenning is the best player of the 3-wall game in the last decade. The last time he came to New York to play at the 1-wall nationals was in 2007, where he put up a good fight against Tyree’s brother, Jurell. But after he lost to Jurell Bastidas in the men’s open singles in the first round, he was never seen again at the 1-wall nationals.
Perhaps Mr. Lenning had high expectations of winning, but refusing to come back to the game he was aiming to capture, only confirms the fact that 3- wall players are unable to win the 1-wall national title.
Paul Brady; The undisputed 4-wall champion confessed he did come to New York to play a friendly 1-wall match and lost badly. And ever since then, he has never been seen at the 1-wall nationals.
While in Des Moines, Iowa, he did say he was going to be in New York during the first weekend of July (7-8), and it was suggested to him to play at the Players Championship 1-wall event to be held on July 7. It was also suggested not to worry about pre-registration for the event as on-site registrations was available. Mr. Brady had said he would love to play rather than watch.
On July 7, the Players Championship tournament started without him, but as the day progressed our sources confirmed to us that Brady was indeed in town. We just couldn’t understand why he didn’t join the tourney for a fun day of play.
This is not the first time Mr. Brady had avoided to play 1-wall while being in town. Prior to the World championships in October of 2012, Mr. Brady was supposed to come to New York followed around by a film crew to promote the event. Immediately, we got in touch with Chris Curran, President of the Irish Handball Association and suggested to him to have P. Brady play an exhibition match against Tyree Bastidas while Brady was in New York promoting the event. Later on, we learned that Mr. Brady had cancelled the promotion in New York, thereby also canceling the invitation to the exhibition game.