Photos by Keith Thode
by John Duggan
The 45th Annual NYAC/Burt Kossoff Invitational Handball tournament will be held at the City House, on the 21st floor, from March 10th to 13th. This event is a pro-stop and will feature elite players along with other divisions ranging from Juniors (under 19) to Diamond (over 70). The pro-qualifier will begin on Thursday evening after 5pm and the men's Pro division will start on Friday at 2pm.
We are extremely grateful to the Kossoff family for their generous support in memory of Burt Kossoff, a true gentleman both on and off the courts.
All members of the Club are invited to stop and watch five-time world champion and NYAC athlete, Paul Brady, as he continues to dominate the pro tour and shatter every handball record along the way. If you are not able to come by, the event will be covered live on ESPN3.
The handball team was very happy and excited to see the installation of new floors in the handball courts. The player feedback has been very positive and response from all is that the ball is moving faster than ever. This will, hopefully, provide a home court edge for the team.
As dominant as Brady has been on the men's side, the ladies' handball team is a force to be reckoned with worldwide. One of our top female players is Danielle Daskalakis. A true New Yorker, Danielle was born in Brooklyn, went to Midwood High School and, from there, to Brooklyn College where she graduated with a BS in Physical Education.
She is currently the one-wall world champion and national champion in 1-wall big and small ball. So far in her young career, she has racked up five world titles and over 30 national titles and has been on every American travel team since 2007.
Danielle has been teaching and coordinating the handball program at the West Side YMCA since 2012 and can be seen on a regular basis on the 21st floor, coaching the kids of the SMP.
I Asked Danielle to write a brief paragraph about handball and her goals: here is what she wrote: “handball is growing and gaining more recognition, There are three main handball forms: 3-wall, 4-wall and 1-wall. I want to win every world and national title that is offered in handball. In addition to this, 1-wall handball is making a strong push to be part of the 2020 Olympics. Handball has been developed all over the world and has specially picked up in Europe and Colombia. In Fact, Colombia has donated a stadium for 1-wall handball where I, along with players from around the world, have been invited to play in the Olympic exhibitions in front of the Olympic Committee.
This year, I am going to put all my energy and focus into 1-wall handball and I will be traveling to Colombia and Europe to play in the exhibitions and national tournaments that they will be running. The Olympics is a dream and being an NYAC member, among numerous Olympic champions, has continued to fuel a dream that finally seems tangible.”
Danielle, we wish you nothing but continued success in accomplishing all of your goals.
There is nothing better than to watch the finals in the open divisions after the field has been narrowed to the best two players of the tournament. But when the finals do not take place for whatever reason it becomes a sour note and a big disappointment to handball followers who sometimes had paid a premium to watch the best players in action.
The handball sport just like any other sport has had to crown its champions when there was no action or shots fired on the court “A win is a win no matter how you look at it” Tyree said.
Unfortunately, the association has registered this rare winning situation in all three handball versions:
2004 USHA 3-wall nationals – David Chapman wins his semifinal match on a hot Sunday afternoon, but after he celebrated his win he checks himself in to a nearby hospital after feeling exhausted and deprived of oxygen. The next day he defaulted and a new champion was crowned: Sean Lenning.
1974 USHA YMCA 1-wall nationals – The first national YMCA one-wall championships sanctioned by the Association also produced the first singles champion that never played in the finals: Wally Ulbrich.
1958 USHA 4-wall nationals – Jimmy Jacobs suffered a back injury during the doubles final a day before the men's singles finals was scheduled. J. Jacobs never recovered during the match and had no choice but to default. The following day Johnny Sloan was crowned the new champion.
Top Two Photos by Keith Thode.
The best big ball game in the quarter finals took place at the Optimist Arena where Ireland's best, Catriona Casey, faced Maria Rivera from Miami, Florida.
Please keep in mind that Catriona Casey's strong game is played with the small ball while Maria Rivera' s best game is played with the big ball.
Although we were extremely impressed with Catriona's big ball game we were equally impressed with Maria's top level of play that had demolished her opponents in previous rounds.
The quarterfinals match result was anybody's guess as no one could predict whether the young Irish could take on the more experienced and older Floridian. In fact, the first game score of 21-20 in Catriona's favor shows how equally competitive the game was.
The second game saw a tired Maria trying to catch up with her younger opponent to no avail. It's worthwhile to point out that during the first game it was Catriona who was trailing 2-11 until she finally cough up with Maria by the end of the game. It seems that youth was served in this match.
Congratulations to both ladies.
Photo - Albert Apuzzi reaching for a ball at the Coney Island handball courts.
Myth – The USHA 1-wall nationals has always been played at the Coney Island handball courts.
Fact – The USHA 1-wall nationals has been played at different places with some of its matches and/or finals played at different locations:
Some of the USHA 1-wall action was played at the following courts:
Coney Island handball courts
YMCA in Coney Island
Brownsville Boys Club
Brighton Beach Baths Club
Castle Hill Beach Club
Upstate New York
H.E.S. in Brooklyn