Above: Tyree Bastidas serves the ball to Billy O'Donnell in final match.
Above from left: B. O'Donnell and T. Bastidas pose before their game as the crowd grows in the upper level.
Tyree Bastidas arrived at the Boston Y early in the morning on April 28 as he wanted to feel comfortable and relaxed before his games. The first thing he did was to check with the tournament desk to check in his room reserved for him by the tournament committee, courtesy of the Boston Youth Handball Association.
The Boston Open is well known for its great hospitality and camaraderie. It has always attracted the best players around the globe, including players from Ireland, Canada, Mexico and the U.S.
Some of the greatest players to have graced its handballs courts whether in exhibition or championship games were: Jimmy Jacobs, Paul Haber, Alvarado Jr., John Kendler, John Bike Jr., David Chapman, Danny Bell, Ken Ayube, etc, etc.
The 36th Boston Open took place from April 27 – 29, and while the Boston Open has been held on other locations a few times, the Boston Y is considered its place of birth.
Tyree Bastidas became the last open player to capture the title at this prestigious handball tournament when he delivered one of the best performances never seen in the past five years.
Handball fans were so happy to have eye-witnessed the last Boston Open tourney with thrilling semifinals and championship match.
Recent winners of the Boston Open:
2012 – Tyree Bastidas – New York
2011 – Emmett Peixoto – California
2010 – David Fink – Pennsylvania
2009 – Sean Lenning – Washington State
2008 – Emmett Peixoto – California
2007 – Sean Lenning – Washington State
2006 – Danny Bell – Canada
2005 – Emmett Peixoto – California
2004 – Kendell Lewis – New York
If 2012 truly is the last year of our existence according to the Mayan calendar, these upcoming 1-wall tournaments will make it a great way to go out - the best outdoors entertainment this year has to offer.
Players to watch:
1 - Saul Gonzalez; He got a head start in 2010 when he reached the semis to play Tyree. His determination to beat Tyree cost him a fractured finger during the third game. He had the option to forfeit due to the injury but stuck it out to the end by playing with one hand. Can he repeat his spectacular performance?
2 - John Wright; The best big ball player of the last decade will have another opportunity capture the small ball USHA title this summer. Mr. Wright’s extraordinary physical condition may help his aging body conquer the small ball handball world before his existence runs out.
3 - Yuber Castro: He showed the world that when trying harder than usual, one can reach a goal. He’ll be trying even harder this year as he wants to hold on to the title one more year. Can he hold on to the title in 2012?
Above from left: Billy O' Donnell, TD Mike Rusinak and Tyree Bastidas
Above from l: Tyree Bastidas (New York) and Johnathan Iglesias (Florida).
Above : Main lobby at Boston YMCA.
Above: The semis proved to be an exciting game for Bastidas and Iglesias
Above: This semifinal also proved to be another exciting match for Peixoto and O'Donnell.
Above: Bastidas takes a look at the gym for the last time before he heads back to New York.
Above from left: Billy O'Donnell and Emmett Peixoto pose for the cameras before their semifinal match.
Tyree Bastidas became the youngest player to win the tourney, according to some members of the handball committee. “D. Chapman came here in the 90’s and won an exhibition match, but not the Boston Open” said J. Kelley.
The last New Yorker to win the Boston Open was Kendell Lewis in 2004, and eighth-year drought. New York Tyree Bastidas made sure the drought didn’t extend anymore.
Because the reconstruction of the Boston YMCA might take a couple of years with two handball courts included, the Boston Open handball committee is still debating whether to run the event at another location and face the possibility that it may never take off again at the new Boston Y.
The Boston handball committee has been working tireless with YMCA officials to try to get a third handball court built to ensure the future of the Boston Open.
T. Bastidas reached another milestone when he was approached to promote a new handball in town.
Entrepreneurs and experts in the advertising business know exactly where to invest their money, and that’s why they have chosen New York handball sensation Tyree Bastidas to promote the ball and the game across the states.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that individuals and companies support and promote our sport through Tyree. They also see him as the future of handball and a perfect return for their investments.
We, at Tyree’s camp have been saying it all along “Tyree is the greatest all-around junior player and the future of handball”
The new handballs are a perfect addition to the game that has seen other balls come and go during the last 60 years.
More details to come soon.
Above: Plaque at the entrance of building with history of the old YMCA.
Above: Monster draw of the Boston Open of 1977 hangs on the wall.
Above: Original photo of old Boston YMCA.
The uncertainty surrounding the Boston Open tournament in the future added nostalgia to the players who used to participate in this tournament when it first started in 1975. It has been running continuously till 2012 with the exception of 1997 and 1998, where the Boston Open was not held for different reasons.
When some of the players of the inaugural Boston Open talked about how big the draw used to be in the past, someone pointed out to the entrance to the Y. There, there was a draw of the Boston Open in 1977 hanging on the wall. Nobody could explain how it got there and nobody stepped forward to claim ownership.
The draw contained more than 60 men in the open, when handball games used to start on Friday and players use to play sometimes 2 matches. On Saturday, players also used to play 2-3 matches and Sunday’s matches could include 1-2 matches as well.
By the time Tyree left the facility after his championship match and after most handball players had left the Y, the monster draw was still hanging on the wall with no takers. It was a reminder of how big and tough the Boston Open used to be in the past.
Handball fans of the Boston Open promised to hold a get together during the first week of June to celebrate the rich history of the tournament and to try to keep in touch with each other one more time before the handball courts get taken down.
John Brinn from New York was the winner of the above -mentioned tournament and was probably the first New York player to capture the title. Tyree Bastidas was the last New Yorker to capture the title at the same courts.
Congratulations to both New Yorkers.