This handball tournament is unique in many ways as it is the only tournament where handball, racquetball and paddleball players get together to play in the biggest outdoors event in the west.
“Outdoor rules” reads a big sign around the courts. There must be some truth to this sign, as there were matches being played into the wee hours of the morning and many people were watching.
In one occasion, we left the courts by 1:30am as we needed to be back by 7:30am to record a game, while matches kept going and going.
Players weren’t surprised about the late games. “This is Las Vegas” a handball fan from California said.
“With plenty of room to build more courts and more people playing every year, this tournament is destined to rule in the U.S.”
Photos by Bill Fand
Dan Flickstein – Long-time USHA handball magazine writer and recipient of the prestigious Carl Porte Award:
I have watched and played most of the best handball players at Coney Island, and I know Joe. He was a real champion in his prime. Joe was the best of the 80’s.
I’ve also seen Tyree play several times and he undoubtedly has tremendous handball skills. That’s why he is the dominant player and the champion.
I have never seen in the past 30 years an open player with a great left hand as good as Tyree’s.
I’ve come to the conclusion that the only player that could have matched Tyree’s smooth left hand was Oscar Obert.
I was lucky to be around to watch Oscar. He also had a smooth and devastating left hand just as good as Tyree’s.
The answer to this question is very simple (travel and crossover), and although is very hard for some players to digest this answear, it’s the only reasonable answer.
Most players in the Northeast practice any handball version that is available to them, and play with any ball (small or big ball). They also travel the distance to compete and crossover to any other handball version to challenge the best players to get better.
On the other hand, most outdoor players from the west choose to play only their game at their own locality and refuse to travel east to challenge other players in other handball versions.
The final results were very compelling at this tournament held in the west.
At the Big ball women’s doubles 3-wall short wall championship match, Miss. Tanisha Groomes was overheard during her game telling her partner, Ashley Moler “They are fit, It’s going to be tough”
Photos by Bill Fand
Bastidas, who draws crowds the way a magnet attracts paper clips spent much of the week watching the crowd go wild every time his opponent scored or had a good rally.
Every year we hear the crowd loud and clear during the tournament. But this year something interesting developed at the Coney Island handball courts. The crowd was very loud and constantly cheering for Tyree’s opponents and it wasn’t cheering for Tyree. Why?
We spoke to some people at the courts on this matter and we got different opinions as to why Bastidas wasn’t the player to cheer for.
Tyree Bastidas is not a local player at Coney Island:
As we have stated in previous posts, Tyree doesn’t practice at the Coney Island courts. He only plays there whenever there is a tournament. People who want to see Tyree practice, needs to go to Ave L and East 17 Street in Brooklyn. Those are his handball courts. Therefore, Tyree is not considered a local player or a regular at Coney Island.
Tyree Bastidas is not the favorite player:
Cesar Sala, Pee-Wee and Joe Kaplan are Coney Island handball favorite players and heroes of the game. They have played and won on these courts in the last two decades. Unfortunately, all these players have run into Tyree at the nationals and have lost every match. Pee-Wee is the only player to have taken a match from Tyree once in 2011. No other Coney Island handball player has been able to beat Tyree at the 1-wall nationals since his debut in the men’s open singles in 2008 when he was 17-year-old. So it’s understandable for the crowd to go wild and support its favorite players.
Tyree Bastidas is not the underdog:
In every sport and in every game there is an underdog, and handball is not different.
Sometimes, we don’t really need to know who the players are, but once we find out who the top-seeded player is or which player has a better record, we’ll know right away who the underdog is.
Perhaps this is the main reason why only a few people cheered for Tyree at the courts.
Photo by USHA.
Suddenly it’s autumn, and the handball community is ready to celebrate and honor the best handball players from the Past and Present.
As the year winds down, we pay tribute to the best players of the game as area residents plus lots of folks from beyond New York’s borders get ready to join in the fun.
And, fun it will be as the festivities and celebration will take place as follow:
1 - The ICHA Annual Dinner Award will be held at Citrus restaurant in Manhattan on October 24th. Paul Williams, President of ICHA will be in charge of the first handball celebration in New York.
2 - The USHA will be inducting Anna Calderon into the Handball Hall of Fame on November 2. Anna will be the first female 1-wall player to have this honor.
The event will take place in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.
Anybody interested in joining the celebration, contact Theresa McCourt or the Association.
3 - The NYAC Annual All Sports Dinner will also be celebrating and paying tribute to the best athletes, including handball players. The celebration will take place on Monday, November 18 at the NYAC Headquarters in Manhattan.
The event will have a Reception at 5:30pm in the Eleven Floor at the Main Dining Room and a Dinner will follow at 6:30pm on the Sixth Floor at the Gymnasium.
4 - On December 7th, The USHA will also be inducting Mark Levine into the Hall of Fame. Mr. Levine is a 1-wall player who excelled as a teenager in the men’s open and won multiples titles playing in both: the AAU and the USHA.
If you are interested in attending, please call Linda Levine to make a reservation or the Association