Photo by USHA
National champion Paul Brady visited the USHA Hall of Fame building located in Tucson, Arizona during the month of November. Mr. Brady's visit took place just before winning the second WPH race48 Pro stop in Tucson.
During his stay Paul took the opportunity to pose for a photo next to Grand National champion Tyree Bastidas’ life-size poster that welcomes everyone at the Hall and decorates the main entrance of the USHA Hall of Fame building.
Coincidentally, the number of the USHA HOF building clearly shows Tyree’s age (23) and Paul’s age at 33 when they reigned as world handball champions.
Ever since the big ball divisions were introduced at this tournament a lot of good players have showed up to get their hands on this title, but only a selected group of players have managed to capture the honors.
We did notice that most of the players are young in the ‘20s or early ‘30s, meaning there is a lot of energy, skills and talent in these events. This year most of the players in the finals were big ball players.
John Purdy was the only player to win both events: the men’s singles and doubles divisions.
Congratulations to all of them.
Photo by Bill Fand
It’s been almost 30 years since America hasn’t seen a player like Joe Durso: larger than-life, villainous and vulgar and bigger than the sport, according to some fans.
During the ‘80s he dominated the 1-wall singles division with a combination of handball skills, powerful shots and by verbally abusing his opponents and trash-talking the competition.
“I’m the best player on the planet,” Joe always said
“I’m the greatest and I can back it up with 9 national singles title.”
We’ve never had the opportunity to watch Joe play in real life in his prime, but from his record we can see he was the best singles player in his era and perhaps the greatest 1-wall player in the Association. But recently the Association published in the USHA magazine an article where its author, Dan Flickstein, believes that Joe Durso even with nine singles titles doesn’t measure up to Steve Sandler.
We can determine a player’s greatness either by looking at his record or by taking into consideration his abilities and handball skills. Unfortunately for Joe, his handball record (9 titles) was ignored by Mr. Dan Flickstein, a former player from Steve Sandler’s era.
“Durso has a monstrous, monstrous ego.” says Charlie Palermo, a handball fan.
“But whatever people’s opinions of him are – whether it’s his style or his trash-talking tactics – he’s the best ever. He‘s a Hall of Fame player”
There is nothing more tiresome than winning a match in a tiebreaker, but that’s because the competitors are more or less of the same caliber as Tyree.
We wish Tyree to win always in two games, but it’s just wishful thinking. The reality is the 3-wall game is probably the most demanding and exhausting game out there. Luckily for Tyree, he has done very well when it comes to tiebreakers at the 3-wall nationals. He has over-performed the rest of the players as he has lost only one tiebreaker since he won his first USHA outdoor national singles title (1-wall) at the age of 19 in 2010. His main rival, S. Lenning, is not that far behind from Bastidas.
How some of the players have performed in tiebreaker at the 3-wall nationals in the last five years:
2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
win/lose win/lose win/lose win/lose win/lose
T. Bastidas 2 0 0 0 1 1 3 0 1 0
Sean Lenning N/A 0 0 3 0 1 1 1 0
E. Peixoto N/A N/A N/A 1 1 0 1
Dave Fink 0 1 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Luis Moreno 0 1 0 0 N/A N/A N/A
D. Szatkowski 1 0 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 1
D. Chapman 0 0 0 0 N/A N/A N/A
Braulio Ruiz 0 1 0 0 0 1 N/A 1 1
Andy Nett 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 N/A
N. Nahorniack 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
J. Bastidas 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
W. O’Donnell 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0
M. Schneider 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0
V. LoPierre 0 0 N/A N/A 0 1 N/A
A. Szatkowski 1 0 0 1 0 0 N/A N/A
V. Perez 0 0 1 0 N/A N/A N/A
R. Willis 0 0 0 0 N/A N/A N/A
W. Lemp 0 0 0 0 N/A 0 1 0 0
T. Stevens 0 1 N/A 0 0 N/A N/A
D. Cordova N/A N/A 0 0 0 1 0 0
R. Bowler N/A N/A 0 0 1 0 0 0
M. Lemus N/A N/A 0 1 N/A N/A
A. Rebaza N/A 0 1 N/A 0 0 N/A
Congratulations to Tyree, the best player when it comes to decide matches in tiebreakers at the 3-wall nationals for the past five years.
Note: Chart above is not in any particular order.
Photo by Keith Thode
The last 4-wall game in the men's open doubles division was a hard-earned pass to the finals that was fought against team Munoz/Chavez on Saturday, October 25. It was also the first time team Bastidas/Nahorniack had managed to get to the championship match and basically prevented an all California shoot out at Los Cabs.
Team Bastidas/Nahorniack jumped to a good start in the first game by taking a huge lead. But it never closed out the game so team Perez/Chavez moved in and took advantage of the situation and little by little it crawled back to the top to seal a well-deserved game.
The second game was just a continuation of the first game as team Bastidas/Nahorniack didn't bring anything new to the table and eventually succumbed to the new champions: Team V. Perez and M. Chavez.
Congratulations to the new champions.