Another riveting championship game is in the books after Team Polanco/Schneider rallied past Team Bastidas for an exciting tiebreaker victory.
Yuber Castro “aka” Pewee was a no-show at the 1-wall nationals this year and William Polanco was left in limbo to find a new partner to play in the men’s open doubles division.
Mr. Polanco a resident of Brooklyn couldn’t find a partner in Brooklyn to replace “Pewee” Castro, but found hope in a young player from Queens, Mike Schneider.
Mr. Schneider has always teamed up with Queen’s resident Bill O’Donnell for the 1-wall nationals, and teaming up with Mr. Polanco would have meant to break up the Queens team that was born since their early childhood. In the end Mr. Schneider took the painful decision to brake up the Queen’s team and a new Queens-Brooklyn team was formed.
After a long weekend of elimination Team Polanco/Schneider found itself in the championship match against team Bastidas.
Team Bastidas may have won the first game, but team Schneider/Polanco made sure it won the next two games to capture the national title. They beat team Bastidas in three games, relegating team Bastidas to runner-up status for the second time in the last two years. Team Bastidas had also lost in the championship match in 2013.
“There were a lot of turning points in the match” Tyree said. “Regardless of the outcome today, we all knew we had equal chances to win. It was a cat-and-mouse fight, it always is with us.
Mr. O’Donnell, who was watching the entire match from the adjacent handball court said “I’m going to win this event next year. If Mike could do it, I could do it.
Congratulations to Team Polanco/ Schneider.
The outdoors handball season for most USHA members came to an end during the Labor Day weekend at the Lucas Recreational Center in Maumee, Ohio.
Those players who enjoyed the great outdoors by playing 1- and 3-wall versions across the country, traveled to the ultimate destination for 3-wall competition where players from all handball versions converge for the last time before going indoors.
Team Bastidas which has been traveling uninterruptedly to Ohio since 2004, made his traditional fun stop at https://www.cedarpoint.com/ in Sandusky to enjoy and relax before the serious competition starts.As in the past, team Bastidas traveled accompanied by family members and young players who want to take the opportunity to compete against the best 3-wall players.
Eddie Perez(red shirt) gets ready to return the ball
Photos by Bill Fand
The pumped ball division is perhaps dominated by middle age players.
We don’t see too many young players in action in this category during this one day tournament unless they are strong and familiar with the unexpected bounce from the ball, which is a regular big ball pumped up with air.
Eddie Perez, a player who had enjoyed playing with the pumped up ball in his early days, went through a draw of sixteen players to clinch the title and the money-prize offered to the winners “I always played this game when I was young, but then the game disappeared” Eddie Perez said.
The final game pitted Mr. Perez against Mr. Rojas, who has previously won this division in the past.
Eddie Perez seems to be a versatile player as we have seen him play in the following handballs versions: 3-wall in New Jersey, 1-wall small ball in New York, 1-wall with the Fronton ball and 4-wall in the Albany and Long Island Open.
He may not be an open player in his prime, but he always makes sure he gives all the young players a run for their money.
“When you are in your 40’s, it’s hard to comeback to the game you always loved to play and win” Eddie said.
“But I’m trying my best to return and play at the top of my game”
The USHA’s handball history may be short, but during this short period of time the Association has approved five different official balls to be used in the men’s division.
When the USHA was founded in 1951, the Association had a firm grip on the Official ball and always controlled the price for the benefit of the game.
We‘ve talked to several players on this matter and found out that most people have enjoyed playing the sport with the official ball offered during their time while at the same time most players have agreed that the Seamco 555 ball was the best ball ever in the 20th Century. Players described the ball as a heavier ball than the handball used in the 21st Century.
The current official ball is the USHA 21, which is a lighter ball than its predecessors, and since its introduction has been gaining wide popularity in the U.S. and abroad.
To meet high demand for handballs other companies have stepped forward to produce a great variety of balls to satisfy a player’s appetite for the game. These balls have been produced with different weights, different names and, of course, different prices never seen before.
Was it better to have only one ball as in the past? Or is it better to have more than one ball as in the present? You be the Judge!
Thee following balls were sanctioned by the USHA as the official balls for the men’s tournaments:
The Seamco 555, The Spalding ACE, The USHA Red Label, The Red ACE and the USHA 21 ball.
It’s been ten years since Bastidas jumped into the spotlight of the handball world in 2004. And ever since then, he has remained in the spotlight through his successful winning handball journey by playing in all handball versions available in the sport of handball.
His success didn’t come with a cheap price, but thanks to his sponsors and supporters he has traveled around the world to display his talent and athleticism that are typical of handball players and rarely seen in other sports.
Special thanks to everyone else who has also contributed one way or another to keep Tyree Bastidas’s website running and making it a unique handball site second to none:
Bill Fand from Brooklyn, New York - Photography
Tom Kopp (Owen Gloves) from Des Moines, Iowa - Sponsor
Dan Gebben from Connecticut - Photography
John Duggan (NYAC) from Queens, New York - Sponsor
Keith Thode from Detroit, Michigan - Photography
Albert Apuzzi from Brooklyn, New York – Electronics (digital/video-cameras, etc).
Sean Delevan from Maspeth, New York – Photography
Paul Williams (ICHA) from Brooklyn, New York - Sponsor
Mike Grabowski from Elmont, New York - Photography