Photos by various, including Bill Fand's.
During the past two years Jurell Bastidas has had a terrific run in the handball sport that we have detailed in previous posts.
He has played mostly under the shadow of his brother Tyree. But his year, Jurell finally emerged and earned his own spotlight and recognition. But in spite of a terrific year some people believe he hasn’t been given enough credits for it.
During the 3-wall nationals in Toledo and while watching Jurell play Sean Lenning, we overheard a gentleman talking to his friend as he was walking away from the game. “Jurell never gets the credit he deserves”
We don’t really know exactly what he meant by that as we don't know what transpired in that conversation, but here in Tyree’s website we are always keeping up and posting his performance. Perhaps the gentleman could have been talking about the handball community in general.
Either way, we have compiled Jurell’s great run in the past two years:
2012 CHA National Four-Wall Championships – champion (doubles).
2012 USHA National Three-Wall Championships – runner-up (doubles)
2013 USHA National Three-Wall Championships – runner-up (doubles)
2013 USHA National One-Wall Championships – runner-up (doubles)
2013 WPH 3WallBall World Championships – champion (3-wall singles)
2013 WPH 3WallBall World Championships – runner-up (1-wall singles)
2013 Long Island Open – champion (doubles)
2013 Coney Island Open – runner-up (singles)
2013 Mayor’s Cup – champion (singles)
2013 Mayor’s Cup – champion (doubles)
2013 Elks One-wall Men’s A/B event – champion (doubles)
2013 Toledo Five One-Wall Classic - runner-up (singles)
Other forms of handball:
2013 FrontBall Open – runner-up (singles)
Photos by Bill Fand & Keith Thode
The quarter final match in the men’s open singles had the traditional rivalry between Bastidas and Castro “Pee-Wee” which promised to deliver an action-packed game to delight the handball crowd.
People had already anticipated this match and gathered around the courts way in advance to grab a seat along the side of the court.
Pew-Wee Castro has always been a tough contender for Tyree. Their matches always last long and usually end up in close games.
Mr. Castro brings a lot of experience into this game. With a big range of open national titles (singles/doubles), he could take on anybody at anytime.
During the summer, we happened to drive by the Coney Island handball courts a couple of times and to our surprise we watched him play handball against a paddleball player. It was obvious he wasn’t just practicing for fun, but was building his stamina and fast reflexes in preparation for the 1-wall nationals.
His efforts did pay off when he pushed Tyree to the tiebreaker, and although Mr. Castro couldn’t win the match, he showed everybody he still got a good game at the age of 35.
We never thought it would happen, but it happened. Wind gusts were blowing around the morning during most final games. The winds gradually increased in power as if they were telling us something.
Ironically, the men’s open singles, 3-wall big ball final match was a blowout match, where defending champion Hernandez was swept away in two games by Juan Santos.
Games were stopped due to the gusty winds that also threatened to blowout the entire handball court project built in front of the Stratosphere.
Later on, the 1-wall men’s singles game resumed, where T. Gonzalez won over G. Vasquez in another blowout game that fans enjoyed watching in the afternoon.
Photo by Holly Koffler.
Stephen Frank – Coney Island local player and former Brighton Beach Bath Club Member.
I’ve started playing handball in the 70’s, and I was a member of the famous Brighton Beach Club in Brooklyn that was taken down later on to make room for a housing complex.
I have always lived around the Coney Island area; that is why I grew up playing the best players at the Coney Island handball courts.
Nowadays, I am a racquetball player, but every year I come down to Coney Island for the 1-wall the nationals to watch the best players of the game.
I was never a top player but I got to play and watch them all.
Joe Durso is about my age (57) and I always had respect and admiration for his game.
To me, Joe has always been the best here at Coney Island, but after I had seen Tyree played here at Coney on several occasions, I’ believe Tyree is a better player. Not to take anything away from Joe, but Tyree is a better player.