Above: Tyree Bastidas (green sweater) celebrates in Ireland ahead of the big ICHA Awards ceremony in New York.
I.C.H.A. the most recognizable 1-wall handball organization in the U.S. honored the best players of the game after the conclusion of the World handball championships in Ireland.
Paul Williams, President and Founder of the Inner City Handball Association, which has the best 1-wall program in the world, commanded attention at the Annual Dinner Award celebration in New York City, when he honored the players on October 25.
In keeping with the theme of honoring the best players of 2012, he lauded the achievements of every player deserving of the honors.
Mr. Williams delivered more good news when he informed the audience about the new efforts and goals the organization has, to keep the 1-wall game as the future of handball.
In fact, Tyree Bastidas proved once again, why 1-wall players are the best handball players in the history of the game. Tyree Bastidas became the youngest player to receive the highest honors, twice (2010, 2012) at the open level.
USHA Hall Of fame players: Rosemary Bellini and Albert Apuzzi were in attendance of the ceremony along donors and supporters of the game.
Congratulations to the best players of 2012:
Tyree Bastidas - open player
Michael Zhou - junior player
Sandy Ng - open player
Danielle Daskalakis - open player
Billy O'Donnell - open player
Note: The players mentioned-above have won either nationals and/or world titles.
For the first time, after a few years, the one-wall handball game returned to the "Y" in Manhattan.
Tournament Director Albert Apuzzi, once again spearheaded the indoor tournament that also included the men’s final of the Collegiate One- wall event that had been postponed due to weather conditions.
A flood of players showed up to this magnificent tournament that took place two weeks after "Sandy Storm" hit NY.
In the semifinals, Bastidas took out Mike Schneider who had an opportunity to close out the game, while John Wright defeated Joe Kaplan in a replay of the 1-wall nationals.
In the finals, T. Bastidas was right there answering "rookie's shots, but in the end it was J. Wright who was there to take the YMCA title for the first time.
In the Collegiate championship game, Saul Gonzalez walked out as the winner over Vladislav Klym after a well contested game. It was the first time that a collegiate 1-wall championship match was decided indoors.
Many people wrongly believe a 4-wall player should be able to win the 1-wall nationals just like 1-wall players have won the 4-wall nationals.
It would seem that way on paper, but the reality is that it has always been difficult if not impossible for 4-wall players to win the 1-wall nationals.
Four-wall players do have an extraordinary gas tank while playing the 4-wall game as the ball stays in play longer than in the 1-wall game. But it's not enough to win the 1-wall competition, which requires more handball skills than a gas tank.
Above: Marco Lemus (green shirt) and Tyree Bastidas (red shirt) playing against the Irish team in the championship match in 2009.
We caught up with 3-wall handball star, Marco Lemus, at the Lucas Recreational Center during the 3-wall nationals and we asked him: why didn’t you play at the 4-wall junior nationals after you almost beat Tyree in December of 2009?
For those not familiar with Marco Lemus, He plays in one division younger than Bastidas’, and ever since he found out about Tyree’s junior handball records, he has been chasing Tyree all over the country to challenge him.
Marco Lemus could have been seeded No 1 at the 4-wall junior nationals the following year, but decided to stop playing after Tyree retired from the junior divisions. “I couldn’t play anymore. I didn’t have any incentive to play”. Marco said.
“Tyree wasn’t there anymore, the junior nationals was not the same without Tyree”