The United States Handball Association held its annual handball trophy awards night at the Elks Lodge on Saturday February 16.
There were close to 100 people in attendance and the junior players were all excited about receiving their participation awards and there was an award for special achievement.
The night started off with a doubles big ball game, followed by a doubles small ball game.
Alethia Mendez and William Polanco spoke about how well the players performed and the fundraising projects that are in the work for the current year.
Mr. Glenn Hall, an ICHA Official, spoke about the future of handball and the need to continue helping to achieve this goal.
An Achievement Award was presented to Albert Apuzzi for his constant efforts to keep promoting the game.
These awards are the organization's highest honors and are given to players who best represent the organization's objective which is to cherish, sustain and promote
"The Perfect Game: One-Wall"
Congratulations to the Award Recipients:
2012 Best Performers:
Male Small Ball: "Pee-Wee" Castro
Female Small Ball: Tracy Davis
Junior Small Ball: Darren Chin
Junior Small Ball: Que Tan
Male Big Ball: Timothy Gonzalez
Female Big Ball: Melissa Sky
Junior Big Ball: Michael Zhou
Junior Big Ball: Dana Alizachova
2012 Achievement Award
Handball Legend Award
Simmie "Buddy" Gantt
Photos by USHA
One-wall player Tyree Bastidas wasn’t supposed to play at the four-wall Collegiate, but he has been stalking the hallways of Arizona State University from February 20-24 as a life-size cardboard cutout.
Bastidas’ two dimensional likeness was created by the USHA where college students immediately took the opportunity to pose and take pictures with the 1-waller during the tournament.
Bastidas was selected this year by the USHA to be the poster boy for the USHA Collegiate championships that took place in Tempe, Arizona.
You don't have to be a 3- or 4-wall player to be selected to this special nomination, and you don't have to win almost every handball tournament the way Tyree does. But you do have to play as much as you can all three handball versions; so that other people around the country can get to see you play and get to know you better.
The one-wall game not only will keep a player in top shape but will make it easy for any player to start learning the 3- and 4-wall handball versions. It worked for Tyree and for most of the best player in the history of the Association.
Recently, we came across the WPH message board where some people were wondering, where was Tyree?.... sounds familiar?
The question is similar to the one most people in the 1-wall handball community usually ask. Where are the 4-wall players?
The 1-wall handball community has always wondered why 4-wall players don't come to the 1-wall tournaments, in spite the fact that New Yorkers do attend 4-wall tournaments.
Albert Apuzzi put it more bluntly:
“Let's not forget that these guys from the Northeast also take time away from their jobs and Family to put to participate in 1 wall events which from their point of you are more lucrative.
I've been trying for a long time to get the 4 Wallers to play 1 wall while they were in New York City without any success. Even a guy likes shanks, who lives locally has yet to participate in a 1-wall event despite several invites and offers to cover his entry fee.
For those who wonder where Tyree is. He is playing 4-wall handball tournaments but only upon request, and when his traveling expenses are taken care. Such as the case of the Boston Open in the Northeast, The Tallcorn in the West, the Canadian nationals abroad, etc, etc.
When not playing outside NY, Bastidas does handball clinics in local schools and plays in local handball tournaments in any handball version.
WPH ex-President, Fred Lewis, offered to fly Tyree to the West in 2012, but unfortunately Tyree's handball schedule didn't allow it.
If 4-wall handball fans are tired and bored of watching the same players beat each other again and again. Pick up the phone and call (718-859-0274) or get in touch with Tyree via facebook. You'll be glad you did.
Above: Tyree blasts the ball during the 1-wall nationals.
The USHA organization has announced its first dues increase in several years, reflecting the increase in the expenses associated with delivering best-in-class new tournaments and enhanced member services.
Annual dues for adult players will increase slightly while junior membership will remain unchanged.
Despite steadily increasing costs, the Association has held the line on dues while continuing to invest in staff and in our game. The continuing goal is to add value to membership. These modest dues increases will ensure that the USHA achieves its mission of delivering the level of benefits and services members demand.
Members should take advantage of the broad menu of membership benefits and services. By doing so, members can readily save more than the cost of their annual dues.
Also, expect a new redesigned website for the Association which will be aggressively promoting the 1-wall game as per the last Board of Directors Meeting.
There is no doubt that Pee-Wee (Castro) had a strong performance during the 2012 handball season, but many people believe the nomination should have been awarded to John Wright (rookie).
We asked several people and in a ratio of 2:1 most handball fans voted for "rookie" to be the deserving recipient.
We don't really know how the 1-wall Committee selected Pee-Wee Castro over John Wright, as we don't know its method for arriving at this selection.
Some people thought the rankings points played a major role, but we disagreed, otherwise Tyree would have been selected since he has been the leading player in the USHA ranking system for the past four years.
We wish the 1-wall Committee issue a breakdown to arrive at its selection for handball fans to better understand.
The best we could do for now is to list their best performances during the year in question so that fans can decide by themselves.
John Wright's best performances with the small ball:
He won the USHA 1-wall nationals
He won the YMCA 1-wall tournament - Pee-Wee did not participate, and,
He reached the WPH 1-wall championship match in Las Vegas, losing to Castro in the finals.
Pee-Wee Castro's best performances with the small ball:
He was the finalist at the Mayor's Cup - rookie did not participate.
He reached the quarterfinals of the USHA 1-wall nationals, lost to rookie.
He won the WPH 1-wall tournament in Las Vegas, defeating Wright in the finals.
With fans divided over this controversial selection, it is no wonder, neither player physically showed up to the Awards Ceremony.