With the holiday season almost in full swing, the handball community came together to celebrate and honor one of the best handball players in the Association on December 7.
It was perhaps one of the best presentations ever made in recent years where Dan Flikstein hosted the ceremony throughout the night, along other players who stepped up to the podium to pay tribute to the new inductee.
Mark Levine is one of the few players in the Association to win an open title as a teenager in the early 70’s. He went on to capture more titles by playing in both associations (AAU and USHA). He is also one of the few players to have won open titles at the famous Gaber stadium, at Brighton Beach.
His numerous winnings weren’t easy to accomplish. He had to face handball players of the caliber of Steve Sandler, The Obert Brothers, Howie Eisenberg, Al Torres, Ken Davidoff and others.
Congratulations to the new Hall of Famer.
Photos by Bill Fand and others.
On November 18, the NYAC held its Annual All Sports Dinner Award to celebrate and recognize the accomplishments of some of its players.
The New York Athlete Club’s Annual All Sports Dinner honors the Olympians, World Champions, World Championship Team members, individual National Champions and Team National Champions.
Tyree Bastidas was honored for being a World Champion and an Individual National Champion!
After what has been described as a stunning performance at the World Handball championships in Ireland, he accepted the honor in front of a gallery full to capacity.
He became the youngest handball player to slam in the men’s open division in either handball version (1- or 4-wall) at the World Championship level.
William O’Donnell, Paul Brady and Tracy Davis were also honored.
CBS Today Show analyst and former Super Bowl winning coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Bill Cowher, was the honor guest for this important event.
The event gathered hundreds of guests and was attended by the best athletes on the planet.
Congratulations to Tyree for another honor added to his incredible handball resume.
Photos by Dan Gebben and others.
The most popular 4-wall tournament in the Northeast came to an end on November 17 with a lot of surprises.
As in the past, players came from more than ten states, including Canada, where everyone enjoyed the great hospitality this tournament is known for.
Keeping up with tradition, this tournament always draws 140 players on average, even though the open divisions offer plaques instead of prize money for the winners. But players do not come here just for the plaques, they come to play because of the great camaraderie and hospitality during the tournament, and the famous “Saturday night Banquet” that offers the best opportunity to mingle and socialize.
Open winner: For the first time Billy O'Donnell captures the men’s singles.
Open doubles: For the first time a Canadian team reaches the championship match.
Longest trip taken to play in this tournament: Chris Simmons from Newfoundland traveled close to 3,000 miles (round trip) by air and land to compete.
Absent from the game: Samantha England from Canada. She was competing in Europe in the Belgium National One-Wall Open.
Famous player to have played in Albany: Naty Alvarado Sr, Fred Lewis, Vern Roberts and others.
Youngest player: Tyree Bastidas becomes the youngest player to reach four consecutive men’s singles open finals.
Dispelling the myth in the handball world – Believe it or not! – Part 2 - 1-wall small and big ball – which one is harder to master and play? – Big ball national champion’s decision clears the confusion.
Photos by Bill Fand.
Many big ball handball players in New York believe the 1-wall big ball handball version is the most difficult and harder to play and win.
On the other hand small ball players believe the 1-wall small ball version takes a tremendous amount of skills to master the game.
This debate has been going on for so many years, we decided to put this issue to rest by highlighting former big ball national champion and current King of the courts champion, John Wright (rookie).
Mr. Wright, the best big ball handball player in the past two decades just turned 40 in 2013. But in spite of his age, he has remained the most decorated big ball player.
Some of you might wonder: why Mr. Wright decided to play in the USHA national big ball 1-wall championships, but not in the USHA national small ball 1-wall championships?
The answer is very obvious: Mr. Wright is a very experienced player who has played in so many tournaments he knows the real difference between playing a big and small ball game. He is aware of the great amount of skills and physical demands the 1-wall small ball game requires. That’s why he chose to play big ball instead of small ball.
Mr. Wright’s wise decision shouldn’t be taken lightly. He knows his limitations and capabilities when it comes to tough competition.
Photo above: Mr. Bastien Van Nuffelen posing with his 1-wall partner.
Two of the best 1-wall players in Europe spent a full week in New York practicing and playing against the best local players at Coney Island during the last week of October.
“This summer we decided to travel to different countries, including England, Ireland, France, Spain, Mexico and the U.S. We wanted to play different players from other countries to see where we stand.” Bastien said.
“I’m happy to watch and meet some of the best 1-wall players of the game"
Belgium is one of the countries that sent handball players to participate at the 1-wall nationals in 2008. They have come a long way ever since by winning tournaments at home and abroad.
Both are familiar faces in Europe and their games could be watched on Youtube channels. They also happened to be featured on Tyree’s website during the Worlds Handball Championships held in Ireland in 2012.
Mr. Nuffelen may comeback next year to play at the 1-wall nationals again.