Photo by WPH
It seems that J. Bastidas has quickly adapted to the hot temperatures in Las Vegas where temperatures sometimes have reached 115. Last year he won the 3-wall small ball singles titles and reached the championship match of the 1-wall small ball singles division.
This year J. Bastidas improved that record by adding two more titles to his growing collection of trophies outside New York. For the second consecutive year J. Bastidas managed to compete in the championship match of the 1-wall small ball singles division. This time he was facing Gio Vazquez, a very loud and controversial player with excellent handball skills.
Vasquez had recently defeated Bastidas in New York during the summer in a very controversial game marred by bad calls, yelling and bulling of the referee. But here in Las Vegas their match turned out to be a different story as all players had to abide by the “Rules of Conduct” book enacted by the WPH organization to prevent all kind of incidents and unsportsmanship behavior.
Gio Vasquez was under a lot of pressure with these rules of conduct and elected to behave himself to avoid being penalized. He also chose to play quiet as the game was being televised nationwide via ESPN.
In the end everyone benefited from a good match where handball fans saw Jurell walk away with a second title during the event.
Jurell Bastidas and Nick Nahorniack were the only players in the men’s open divisions to win more than one title during the entire tournament.
Why are all competitors smiling in the top photo?
In a photo, most of the times we can tell the winners from the losers, but in the above-mentioned photo every player seems to be a winner. Both teams played hard to get to the finals and both teams deserved to win.
Team Tracy Davis and partner Na Liu won the last open event of the calendar in the last day of the tournament. They defeated team Carly Stickles from Illinois and Hilary Rushe from Ireland to claim the women’s honor. For Na Liu it was her first title during the Labor Day Weekend. For her partner T. Davis it was the second title and the rare chance to slam in the women’s doubles.
The final result was a reminder of the different times the women’s division has been captured by players from different parts of the world. It also marked the second time a player form Asia wins a title in the women division.
In the past, the women’s event has also been won by a Brazilian player.Congratulations to all players
CHARLIE “BANANAS” SHELDON
By Ben Brighton
I received the shocking and sad news yesterday of the passing of Charlie Sheldon.
After the initial reaction to such news, a flood of memories came about the man who was affectionately known as “Charlie Bananas”. The moniker sounds like a character from the Godfather movies. The origin of his nickname had two sources. One was bites of bananas, and drinks he would consume during matches. The less flattering one was his eccentric behavior during the course of a match, such as focusing on spectators whose talking or presence were obstructing or hampering his performance and asking them to move.
A scout reporting on him would read thusly – “no power, no serve, no kill-shot.” Yet he was a top player in open competition throughout the 60s & 70s and in Masters divisions during the 80s.
How did he accomplish this without the tools one comes to expect from the top players. He was a well-conditioned, trained athlete, who was a relentless retriever and volleyer. He used every inch of the court and the wall to frustrate and confound his opponents. He was a mentally strong, physically tough warrior.
The one-wall stars during his era hated being matched against him. They knew they were in for a grueling, long match that pushed them to the limits of their stamina and patience.
One of my fondest memories and best victories was playing Charlie in several matches in the 1980s. I had already cemented my reputation as a volleyer. I was playing an older version of myself. Our philosophy was why kill the ball, when hitting it 10 times was more fun. It was one, of the longest and most tiring matches of my life. At point game I hit a killer from the long line with my left hand. The only reason I made that shot was because my arm was so sore, it produced an angle and swing that resulted in a kill-shot. But while I accepted the applause, I knew that Charlie had worn me out.
Over the years, when Charlie would show up to watch the Nationals, he always searched for me in the crowd; two handball warriors exchanging a few words about the game we love. Many years ago the Righteous Brothers recorded a song called “Rock and Roll Heaven”
In it they sang about the great singers who had passed and if there was a heaven “you know they have a hell of a band” went one of the lyrics, well if there is a handball heaven Charlie Sheldon joins the other departed greats to form a “hell of a team”.
R.I.P Charlie Sheldon
Photos by Dan Gebben
The Albany Open handball tournament is one of the few tournaments around the country that has been holding tournament more than forty consecutive years. It has the distinction of being the most popular handball tournament in the Northeast due to the great camaraderie and hospitality and its famous Saturday night banquet.
With over a hundred players participating from different states and Canada this tournament will soon be heading to its 50th edition in a few years.
There is no prize money for the open divisions, but that hasn’t stopped players from coming to compete for the honors. Players from Canada, Mexico and Ireland have also competed in the open divisions throughout the history of this famous event.
Congratulations to the Albany Open staff for always putting together a great tournament.
ICHA 2014 Award Dinner – handball sport honors its best.
Photo by ICHA
On Thursday October 23, ICHA “Inner City Handball Association” hosted in Manhattan once again the Award Dinner celebration to honor the best players of the game throughout the year. Tyree Bastidas couldn't attend as he was in California participating at the Simple Green tournament.
ICHA has been paying tribute to players from the juniors to the open divisions and to individuals who have helped grow handball one way or another. The association was founded by Paul Williams in the 90’ to promote handball among the youth. Later on it expanded its activities to involve men and women of all ages.
This year ICHA honored the following players, volunteers and coaches:
Tyree Bastidas – Top Male Athlete
Danielle Daskalakis – Top Female Athlete
Robert Lee – Top Jr. Male Athlete
Jessica Sim – Top Jr. Female Athlete
Ken Dyckman – Top PSAL Girls Coach
Jack Heller – Top PSAL Boys Coach
William O’Donnell – Top CHSAL Coach
Lily Fung – Top Volunteer
Annie Huang – Top Volunteer
Glenn Hall – Top Volunteer
Kristina Hall – Top volunteer
Sandy Ng – Phil Fuches Scholarship Winner