The Birth of and Iconic Institution – The NYAC
by Fred Jarvis
In the beginning, there were only William Curtis, Henry Buermeyer, John Babcok, a small make -do gym, the back room of a restaurant, and an idea. From the meager start there developed over the next century a magical establishment that exercised the profoundest effect on amateur sports and became the world's largest athletic club.
The New York Athletic Club hardly invented amateur athletics. Men had raced and jumped and thrown heavy objects since the birth of recorded history.
Greeks sped nakedly across the grassy fields of Olympia seven centuries and more before Christ.
Pindar and Homer sang their praises. Julius Africa-nus compiled the names of Olympics winners from 776 B.C. to A.D. 217. When the New York Athletic Club made so bold as to open its imaginary doors in 1868, there were other clubs on the American scene. New York city had its ethnic-oriented sports organizations for Irish, Germans and Scots.
There was an athletic club in Paterson, New Jersey and in Philadelphia, Chicago, San Francisco, and probably elsewhere.
But the spark that ignited the NYAC was a special thing obtained to produce a bigger, bolder and brighter light than any of its predecessors. It sputtered and flamed at precisely the time when American athletics were evolving from the rough-and -ready frontier stage to the organization of associations and leagues. It was a time of transition.........
Max Tarasov, the new star from the current generation of 1-wall handball players started playing for James Madison high school in Brooklyn as the 2nd singles and rose to the top by competing at the PSAL city-wide and High School Spring Meet handball events.
He is a 19-year-old handball player and competing in the open and pro divisions at the Mayor's Cup, Players' championship and King of the Ring events. “People called me “El Ruso” because of my Russian heritage” said Max.
This year Max Tarasov reached the finals of the men's open singles at the Mayor's Cup and recently won the USHA men's singles A division which earns him the right to compete against the best 1-wall players next year.
Brooklyn has the biggest Russian community in Brighton beach which is located next to the Coney Island handball courts, but doesn't have many Russian handball players. We are hoping Mr. Tarasov inspires other Russian young followers to play the best sport in the world "I'm glad to see a Russian kid playing handball. With so many Russians beach goers watching handball as they head to the beach, it's hard to believe we don't have too many Russian handball players at the open level" said Charlie, a regular at the courts.
Congratulations to Max Tarasov for officially earning his open player status.
Photo above: Holly Koffler, a free-lance photographer and a long time contributor to the USHA, poses at the Hall of one of New York greatest Institutions.
A few years from now there will be a gathering of players where some will offer up speeches and hear one last roar for the players they used to be. They will all be worthy inductees. This day will be about them and there will be plenty to say about them.
But this is also a day when it's right to remember those who aren't there, too - Charlie Danilczyk.
We have been here a couple of times and we shouldn't rest until this injustice is corrected, even if it takes more years.
Now that Howie Eisenberg, the controversial 1-wall Commissioner in charge of the 1-wall HOF Committee, resigned in 2012, a great opportunity has presented itself to right the wrongs of his previous administration.
Charlie Danilczyk, a man who deserves a spot in Tucson, is more than 85 year-old by now. He's ready and waiting for his name to be called either to the Hall or to eternity.
Just when everyone thought French players would win the tournament after they came out victorious during the first rounds, two of the best Mexican players in the last five years surged during the semifinals to dispose of anyone in their way.
Orlando Diaz and Juan Medina are no strangers to the finals of this famous annual tournament. They have faced each other on several occasions on both: the old and new continent.
Both players eliminated American, Irish and French players on their way to the podium and were cheered by locals and Mexican fans who came out to watch the best Fronton players in modern times.
Congratulations for their great performance and to the organizers for setting up another top event.
There are far more people taking pictures at handball events in the last twenty years than ever before. And that's thanks to the digital camera that has become popular and affordable.
Out of hundreds of people taking pictures of handball action across the country, we would like to mention some of the best and thank them for providing the handball community with handball memories that everyone will enjoy for many years to come.
Keith Thode has been taking pictures for more than 30 years and is the only person who covers all USHA nationals in all three handball versions. He's been covering the 1-wall national uninterruptedly since the late nineties.
This year everyone missed him and his pictures as he couldn't make it to the 1-wall nationals due to his commitment to the Worlds handball championships.
The following list of photographers is not in any particular order and is comprised of people who take some of the best photos:
Keith Thode – covers World, US Open, USHA nationals, regional & local handball events
Lolita Vincent – covers World, US Open, WPH pro stops and local handball events.
Art Haffner - covers 3-wall nationals, regional and local events
Luis Gaytan – covers WPH, US Open and local events
Dan Gebben – covers national, regional and local handball events.
Bill Fand – covers 1-wall national and local handball events.
Holly Koffler – covers 1-wall nationals and local handball events
Mike Grabowski – covers 1-wall nationals and local handball events.
Jose Davila - covers 1-wall nationals and local handball events.