This was a special tournament for some junior players who attended the 4-wall nationals this past weekend as they were treated to some special hospitality by various organizations.
The USHA gave to some junior players; shirts, gloves, duffel bags, shorts. headbands, wristbands, etc, etc, just for the asking.
OwenGloves also gave away gloves to junior players as long as they help around doing volunteer work at the tourney.
The Des Moines Hinder Club waived the entry fees of all junior players who helped around the courts when necessary.
“I got a lot of stuff at the nationals. This is a fun tournament, I love the hospitality here” Robert, an 18-year-old said.
“I want to comeback next year”
For those junior players who missed on this great hospitality, the nationals will be held in the state of Minnesota in 2014.
Many people have always talked about P. Brady as a fear factor in the men’s open. It’s very obvious that once Mr. Brady finishes a match, he picks up his belongings and leaves the premises as soon as he can. Mr. Brady would only show up a few minutes before his next match as his behavior has gotten a lot of attention.
Most players are puzzled as they can’t understand why P. Brady can not stay around after his matches to mingle and socialize with the rest of the players. “It keeps them wondering what’s in Brady’s head for his next match.” said a handball fan.
“No one can talk to him about his strategy for his next game. They can't read his mind on what he is going to do the next day” said another fan.
Paul Brady’s fear factor strategy changed this year in Des Moines as he was seen mingling and socializing with most of the players outside the courts. He was even seen around when he wasn’t supposed to play.
The 4-wall nationals in Des Moines, brought together the best handball players in the world.
All of them walked away with a national title during the six day competition, but none of the players pulled the rare slam this year.
Handball fans were treated to a world class handball competition from June 25-30.
Congratulations to the current world handball champions:
Tyree Bastidas – 1-wall champion (New York): He won the USHA 4-wall doubles title.
Paul Brady – 4-wall champion (Ireland): He won the USHA 4-wall singles title.
Aisling Reilly – 4-wall champion (Ireland): She won the USHA 4-wall singles title.
By Ben Brighton
I remember cartoons of my youth where a snowball rolled down a mountain and by the time it reached the bottom it was a huge ball of snow.
Many ideas and what are now cultural institutions started out with humble origins and even meet with skepticism and criticism.
You can’t hold a marathon in NYC people told Fred Lebow. Rock and roll is just a fad. J.K. Rowling was rejected by editors many times before a little story called Harry Potter took off.
And so it goes with Frontball. Hall of famer Albert Apuzzi, who is the liasson with Jean-Michel Idiart from France, has a vision of connecting with the handball communities throughout the world for the betterment of the sport. Since the inaugural frontball event was held in 2008 this annual event has continued to grow.2012 champion PeeWee Castro opened defense of his title by defeating Isa Dotsenko in the round of 16 and then Bobby Lee in the quarters. That positioned him to face Carlin Rosa in the semis. Carlin had gotten everyone’s attention by defeating Tyree Bastidas in the quarters. A powerful lefthander, popular in the big ball community, he was he was unfamiliar to most of the spectators at Coney Island.
Most of the participants in this event are not familiar with the subtities of frontball because it is vastly different from 1-wall handball. They just try to keep the ball between the lines, outvolleying their opponents. Carlin took a different approach and outslugged his opponents. It was power against power as Rosa defeated Castro 10-3, 4-10, 5-2 .
Meanwhile Jurell Bastidas advanced to the final in workmanlike fashion defeating John Milman, Dave Rojas & Pooch Garnet.
The heat and pressure did not phase Carlin as he emerged victorious 10-7, 10-6 and received a round of well deserved applause. Carlin’s powerful ground strokes reminded me of top tennis pros with their long rallies. Speaking of tennis a special mention to John “the lifeguard” Melonik who played the longest match besting Saul Gonzalez 20-18.
In the women's division Jessica Lopez was back to defend her crown. She opened her defense with a 10-4, 10-7 quarterfinal win over Soy Hwee. Her semifinal opponent would be Dori Ten.
Spotting the field decades in age the seasoned veteran, and mentor to the younger players, Dori had defeated Theresa Haley 10-9, 10-7 in the quarters. After being trounced by Jessica in the first game, Ten regrouped falling 10-9.
Just one point short of forcing the tie-breaker.
Lopez’s final opponent Na Liu was a real dynamo. Barely five feet tall the “sparkplug” had already fought off two tie-breakers against Annie Huang and Jasmina Djukonovic. You could sense the crowd pulling for Na as she forced yet another tie-breaker before falling 10-9, 4-10, 5-1.
In the last event, the amateur singles, Arik Nudelman defeated Andy Rousseau 10-5, 10-9.
As I observed the many spectators I noticed “old timers”, who are longtime followers of our traditional 1-wall game. Even they were talking about the games enthusiastically. If you can sway them frontball has a chance to succeed.
Special mention as always to Albert Apuzzi for running the tournament, Anna Calderon who manned the tournament desk, Buddy Gannt & Eddie Styles for reffing all day long in the heat and lastly Paul Williams from Absolutely trophies for providing the cups at a discounted price.
The handball community offers its condolences on the recent loss of Theresa’s mother.
For those fans who haven’t noticed. Aisling Reilly just won her third national singles title in the U.S. She has been building a new trend in the women’s open just like Brady started building his in the men’s open in 2005.
This is the first time an Irish woman captures three USHA open national titles by the age of 24. She definitely has the potential to win nine titles by the time she turns 30... a big possibility.
Catriona Casey from Ireland has proven to be Miss. Reilly’s nemesis as she has beaten Reilly before. But for now Reilly reigns.
Congratulations to Aisling Reilly.