Top screenshot: Bastidas dives to score against Cesar Sala in NY. Bottom screenshot: Fink dives in a futile attempt to score against Armando Ortiz in NY.
Cesar Sala thought he was over the hump, on the verge of staging his best comeback of the season against, of all players, the defending 1-wall champion Tyree Bastidas.
On a hot Sunday morning the 1-wall men's open final ended with a familiar script for Mr. Sala: a last minute and unexpected dive by Tyree in the third game allowed and a victory denied in a tiebreaker where Cesar was leading 9-7.
“Best 1-wall player in the association, best record, frequent rivals. Obviously, it would have been a big win,” said Andy Reyes, a 1-wall fan.
But why did Tyree decide to dive and re-kill Cesar's shot?
“I was running out of options with the game almost over and Cesar was killing almost every ball in play. When he shot low from the left side I had no choice but to dive and kill the ball” Tyree said.
Not only did Tyree score while trailing 7-9, he regained his confidence and the momentum needed to win the match. The perfect timing of his dive and the precise kill-shot that followed, helped him earn another title to add to his vast collection of trophies “If Tyree didn't dive to get that ball, he probably would have never won the match” said Robert Lee, an open player in the association. In the past Bastidas has been criticized for what some handball analysts and commentators call “excessive diving on the court.”
If Cesar thought he had any hope of making a last minute comeback, Tyree had already ended that hope when he immediately closed the game, registering the loudest roars with his momentum-changing play in front of an ignited crowd.
Myth – The USHA 4-wall juniors singles national title has always been captured by young and unmarried handball players.
Fact – The USHA 4-wall juniors singles national title has been previously captured by a married young man: Naty Alvarado Sr. Mr. Alvarado won the 17-and-under singles division in 1971 when he was already married to Lupe Alvarado.
While attending the worlds in Calgary, Canada, we decided to check the draws that are usually posted on the wall for everyone to check scores, best games and starting times for the competitors. To our surprise we were informed the draws wouldn't be posted on the walls.
With at least half a dozen venues used for 1-and 4-wall competition and with an overstretched bus route to pick up players and fans from and to different hotels the paper draws became a must-have to follow the competition all over Calgary. To make things worst, the scores were only being updated by the end of the day, which made it difficult for fans to travel from one venue to another to follow the competition “I've never been to a handball tournament without the paper draws on site” said a handball fan.
“I had to write on a piece of paper the time and place of the games I wanted to watch” said another fan.
“We even had to rent a car to move around and watch the best games because nothing was being updated in real-time”
We do have to agree with everyone else, the draws should have been posted to better follow the games as there was more than enough room to post them on the walls.
We also agree that eventually the paper draws will have to vanish in the near future as more people will follow the action via internet. But if the draws are not being updated in real-time handball followers will definitely need the paper draws to move around the different venues where the games are taking place. Will the next world handball competition in Alaska do away with the paper draws in 2018?
It remains to be seen.
Bottom photo by Keith Thode - from l: Michael Driscoll and Norm Young.
Norm Young is a long time 3 & 4 wall player from East Lansing, Michigan. He started playing handball while competing in wrestling for his College team. And while attending College, he used to go to the Michigan Athletic Club every day twice a day for many years: once to play or practice and once to work out.
One of his practicing partners suggested to try handball competition and this is how he started to play 4-wall handball forty years ago. He's a former wresting national champion.
Mr. Young never played at the national open level in the singles division, but he made sure he did at the local and regional level. He was already in his forties when he started winning 4-wall tournaments and later on he transferred his skills to the 3-wall game where he also found success and ultimately the USHA Grand Master Honor.
At the beginning of his handball journey, Norm Young preferred to play in the singles division at his club, but later on he opted to play more often in the doubles events as he entered into the fifty plus divisions.
Off the court Mr. Young is a very quite and humble person, but on the court he transforms himself into a different person where he becomes a warrior, a vocal player and a soldier at war. He's known to vacate the premises once he loses, and never stays to watch others play once he's out of the tournament. He takes his games very seriously. He's even come to New York to play at the 1-wall nationals, but after his repeated attempts to win, he never came back to compete again.
Recently he reached the finals of his singles and doubles events at the USHA 3-wall nationals where he won his age division doubles title with his partner Michael Driscoll.
Most of the information from this post was obtained by online and phone interviews, and by a face to face interview with Mr. Young at the recent 3-wall nationals in Toledo, Ohio.
Congratulations to Mr. Young for a very successful handball journey.