Photo by Holly Koffler - Eye-Guard by Albert Apuzzi Gloves by Owen - 21 Handball by USHA.
Sometimes winning a singles or a doubles title is enough accomplishment for a handball player. But for most players winning the singles and doubles titles is the ultimate prize.
There are many singles champions in the history of the association, but only a few have been able to capture both: the singles and doubles at the same tournament in the same year.
Tyree Bastidas hasn't had an easy road to slam at the 1-wall nationals. He has gotten to the finals of the singles and doubles open events on several occasions, but was unable to capture both titles.
This year he accomplished a mission almost impossible to perform. He slammed at the 1-wall nationals. A rare task no one has been able to pull off since 2002 when former champion Yuber Castro did it. Thirteen years is a long time for players not to slam. It just shows how difficult it's to slam in the 21st century.
Prior to the 1-wall nationals, we had already prepared the list with the youngest champions to have slammed and reminded Tyree that he needed to slam this year if he wanted to have the honor of being the youngest champion to achieve this feat. It worked. He rushed in a stampede fashion to scare the competition with a monster game never seen before.
Some of our readers will be surprised to find out that some of their favorite players and greatest 1-wall champions didn't make the list. Just because they were great 1-wall players it doesn't mean they were able to win the singles and doubles open titles at the same time. They simply couldn't pull off the rare “slam”
Accordingly, we have listed all USHA 1-wall national champions who have slammed for the first time at their youngest age. Coincidentally all players who made the list happen to be current and potential USHA Hall Of Famers.
Congratulations for this Great Achievement.
Year Slammed Name Player's age
2015 Tyree Bastidas 24-years-old.
1972 Wally Ulbrich 25-years-old.
2002 Yuber Castro 26-years-old.
1959 Oscar Obert 28-years-old
1984 Joe Durso 29-years-old.
1986 Albert Apuzzi 30-years-old.
1970 Steve Sandler 30-years-old.
1995 Eddie Maisonet 31 years-old.
1977 Al Torres 33-years-old.
Most Photos by Bill Fand
One of the youngest players in the big ball game has been climbing to the podium on several occasions with little or no attention paid to his achievements by the big ball handball community.
Bush may no be synonymous to “big mouth” which is usually associated with big ball players according to some people, but his humble attitude and soft approach to the game have been the main ingredients to beat most of the competition. He's part of a new breed of big ball handball players trying to advance the game by climbing to the top without too much fanfare.
He's been beating top players since he was a teenager, but hasn't been able to capture the highest honors. This year he earned 3rd place at the most prestigious tournaments in the U.S, including the USHA national 1-wall big ball championships. He's also won the renowned Big Blue Ballers handball tournament where he defeated current national 1-wall champion Tywan Cook who had beaten Timbo Gonzalez in one of the semifinals. Mr. Bush's winning at the end of the day, broke the hearts of many handball fans who had bet against the young handball star.
During the summer, Mr. Bush placed among the top eight players at the KOTC and had previously reached the semifinals of the RedBull handball tournament at the Coney Island handball courts. The 21-year-old player also finished the 2015 big ball handball season in the west by capturing all open doubles events he entered.
Congratulations to Mr. Bush.
Photo: Third photo from top by Keith Thode.
One of the most embarrassing moments at the handball world championships took place in the men's open doubles division when current W. C. H., President, Con Moore, overruled the host country decision to not allow a player substitution after the team had already played a round (won).
P. Brady and M. Finnegan were the original Irish representatives in the men's open doubles that had already played and won a match that earned them a pass to the quarterfinals.
During the quarter-finals a visible frustrated P. Brady, struggled to defeat his countryman Charlie Shanks in the men's singles division and soon after his win, Mr. Brady re-evaluated his probabilities to slam at the worlds and opted to drop out of the doubles competition.
Charlie Shanks agreed to substitute P. Brady and a new team was born in the process and under protest: Team C. Shanks and M. Finnegan.
Many handball fans didn't see this substitution as fair competition where Canadian, U.S. and other countries representatives also voiced their concern and opposition.
In the end, Con Moore, also a P. Brady handball fan, stepped in to squash the protests and ultimately overruled the host country to create a new Irish team during the quarter finals. But where do countries go to protest when their own World Council Handball President oversteps his duties and abuses his power to overrule anyone who doesn't agree with him?
We don't have an answer for this sad incident at the highest level of competition, so we decided to ask an Irish fan watching the games from the stands. What do you think of Con Moore overruling the host country by allowing a substitution in the middle of the event?
“This should have never happened. It makes us look bad. It made us looked like we are desperate to win at any cost” said the Irish man, who requested to remain anonymous.
Top Photo: Mantell poses with USHA photo of Tyree in background. Bottom Photo: Macias hits the ball as Preveti gets ready.
Abe Mantell and Richard Mascias, two veterans of the small ball game met each other at the Speaker Council's Cup and at the USHA 1-wall big ball nationals where they ran into big ball powerhouse Paul Previti from Long Island. It was a round Robin event that took a long time to finish as each game took at least one hour to finish and none of the players wanted to go home early. Fans were treated to some amazing games rarely seen in the 50 plus division.
This is the first time we got to really appreciate Mr. Previti's handball skills and the great stamina he has for a man his age.
Congratulations to Abe, Richard and Paul for putting up a great handball show on the courts.