Most photos above by Venicepaparazzi.com.
Tyree Bastidas has managed to rejuvenate the open division and nearly ruin the juniors. So if you want to measure true greatness, just look at what Bastidas’ arrival competitiveness has meant at the USHA open and what his departure has done to the juniors divisions around the country.
“We’ve lost the best junior player ever and there is nobody to replace him to attract more players and more competition into the game” said his brother Jurell.
Ever since Tyree graduated from the junior divisions the USHA has made the following drastic changes to revive the junior divisions:
A. – The USHA National Junior Three-Wall Championships used to be Bastidas’ favorite summer handball experience in the west, where many players from around the country and abroad came to challenge him in every division he played. With so much competition against so many good players, it’s not wonder why Tyree never missed the competition at Venice Beach during his teen years.
For the first time in the history of the game, the USHA has moved the site of the 3-wall junior nationals from Venice Beach, California to Cincinnati, Ohio, with hopes of attracting more players.
B. - The USHA National Junior One-Wall Championships used to attract record number of entries hovering around 200 players during the Bastidas’ era. But after Bastidas departure, the tournament itself has suffered in terms of junior participation to the point where the USHA had no choice but to incorporate the 1-wall junior championships, a stand-alone tournament, into the USHA 1-wall nationals held in August.
“He made handball cool for a young generation,” Tyree’s friend, John said.
“Bastidas’ departure from the juniors divisions had a rippling effect across the U.S.”
On the other hand, with Bastidas’ combination of boyish good looks and winning form, he has revived interest in the men’s open, which before his arrival lagged behind the 3-and 4-wall handball versions.
Bastidas’ arrival at the open and his departure from the junior divisions had gotten everyone by surprise, including the USHA, which is scrambling for short term solutions to revive the junior divisions. Let’s hope it works.
Photos by Bill Fand
The fifth big ball national championships brought a lot of surprises during the three day weekend, including the downfall of the first and second seeded players in the men’s division during the second day.
A lot of people with a lot of enthusiasm showed up to the hard contested competition, but only the best players reached the finals.
USHA representative Mat Krueger came to New York to kick off the long weekend extravaganza on July 13, 2012, where the best big ball players battled under the scorching sun with temperatures hovering above 100.
Hundreds of handball fans, including players and coaches cheered from the sidelines, building an atmosphere of fierce, but friendly competition.
Photo by Bill Fand
As in any other sport, handball players also have the tendency to believe that they have already mastered the skills required to be a champion, but the reality is that most of them are just good enough to be champions in their communities, in their cities or their states.
The final test for handball players to test their abilities is the 1-wall national where the best players in the country converge to compete against the best of the best.
If you really think you got what it takes to be a champion, then come to the USHA 1-wall championships to play and watch the best players in the U.S. from August 1-5.
Photos by Bill Fand
New champions were crowned for the first time during the hottest weekend of the month.
The tournament was played at the famous Coney Island courts, which has been the venue for both: the small and big ball national championships.
The tournament went off to an exciting and successful start, where the players come from all walks of life and have their own stories and connections to the game. They are doctors, bakers, writers, flight attendants, entrepreneurs, etc. They are boys, men and women ranging in age from 13-65 from as close as Brooklyn and as far as Arizona.
Timothy Gonzalez became the youngest player to capture the men’s open (singles) division when he beat Giovanni Vasquez in three games. Also, Melissa Sky, a young player in the women’s division defeated veteran player Karen McConney. Read more…….
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The tournament has been so successful in the past that handball fans showed up in big numbers to support this new handball version that has already grown roots in the handball community.
Milestone: Pewee Castro has captured the most titles by reaching his third championship game in the last three years.
A - The tournament registered an increase of more than five times the tournament average participation from previous years.
B – There were five champions crowned this year.
C – The tournament Committee supplied uniforms to all players who reached the quarterfinals (Men and Women).
D – Banners for tournament sponsors: Nissan (Anglet) and ETPM were displayed all around the handball courts.E – The purse was the largest given out for a one-day tournament at the Coney Island handball courts in recent memory.