Above; 2009 World champions and current USHA champions, Polanco and Castro.
In one of the most interesting matches in the handball calendar, the 1-wall open doubles semifinals garnered a lot of buzz as Tyree Bastidas partnered with Bill O’Donnell for the first time. How did these two young players get to team up?
Mr. O’Donnell always wanted to team with Bastidas but never found the opportunity, but he had heard Tyree needed a partner and a new team was born.
The match against team Sala/Kaplan wasn’t easy and the scores (21-14 and 21-17) could verify that. But for the first time in Billy’s handball career he found himself on the winning side. “I always wanted to beat them” said Billy, aka “the bus”.
“I‘ve taken a lot of beatings from them in New York, but this one will go down as one of my best winnings ever.”
Next stop, the championship match against defending champions Y. Castro and William Polanco.
Above: Tyree and Billy get their gold medals at the podium surrounded by world handball officials.
The most hyped match in the 1-wall men’s open doubles was the finals. The match between team Sala/Kaplan and team Castro/Polanco didn’t take place as team Bastidas/O’Donnell spoiled the anticipated match when they took down team Sala/Kaplan at the semis.
Team Castro and Polanco, the most dominant 1-wall team in modern times faced a much younger team in the finals of the Worlds. Both players got to personally eyewitness how team Bastidas/O’Donnell ruined team Sala/Kaplan’s hopes of a World title and they weren’t going to let that happen to them.
The odds for team Bastidas/O’Donnell were against them, 5-1, as team Castro/Polanco had a solid performance with a vast record of national, international and world titles.
Nevertheless, Team Bastidas/O’Donnell was looking for its first world title and wasn’t going to let any team spoiled its hopes.
The first game went as expected; tough, long and fiercely fought, but in the end it was team Bastidas/O’Donnell that claimed victory with a narrow score of 21-18.
The second game was also intense all the way to the last point, but this time it was team Castro/Polanco that took the lead while team Bastidas/O’Donnell took the beat at 21-14.
The tiebreaker was a nail-biting game where both teams wanted to be crowned world champions and were trying their best to get there. Team Bastidas/O’Donnell was leading 9-7, when its opponents tied the game at 9.
To everyone’s surprise, it was team Bastidas/O’Donnell that beat the most experienced team of Castro/Polanco, 11-9. “It felt so good to step up to the podium and be crowned world champion” Billy said.
“I’ve been waiting a long time to defeat the best 1-wall teams at the world stage. Thanks Tyree for taking me to the Promised Land”
Recently, the World Handball Championships in Ireland had a record number of participants (more than 2,000), due to the popularity of the 1-wall game.
Contrary to peoples' belief, the 1-wall handball version has always been the most popular version in the U.S and abroad. Whether is played with the small or the big ball, the 1-wall version has always been easy to learn and play. And it has always been the most affordable too in terms of equipment and facilities.
It's obvious the 4-wall version is the handball version that most players have practiced in the U.S due to the financial support and promotion of the USHA and its donors. But times have changed and it seems that the handball world is hungry for the 1-wall game, as reflected in the last World handball championships in Ireland.
Not since junior player Tyree Bastidas, has the 1-wall handball community had so much buzz surrounding the internet. But love it or hate it, phenomenal player Tyree Bastidas is here, and is here to stay.
For the majority of handball fans, it’s been mostly love. No, he is not a 4-wall player as many people think he is. He is a pure 1-wall player taking on the best players of the planet in any handball format at home and abroad. He plays with the small and the big ball and probably travels around more than any other player.
When the medal was draped around Bastidas’ neck, he lifted it up and gave it a bite, to make sure it was all for real. It was the first time since 1964 (first world handball championship) a player as young as Tyree had slammed at the men’s open level.
World Handball Championships 4-wall (singles):
1997 John Bike Jr. (31-years-old) def Dave Chapman.
2000 Dave Chapman (25-years-old) def John Bike Jr.
2003 Paul Brady (24-years-old) def Tony Healy.
World Handball Championships 1-wall (singles):
2003 Herman Mendez (30-years-old) def Tony Roberts – big ball
2006 William Polanco (31-years-old) def Tony Roberts – big ball
2012 Tyree Bastidas (22-years-old) def Joe Kaplan – small ball
Handball is the ultimate city game. Played at the highest level, it can be both beautiful and brutal -- one player describes it as 'like boxing, except with a ball.' For more than 50 years, the National One Wall Handball Championship has been played at the Seaside Courts in Coney Island. One Wall follows the most talented athletes you've never heard of as they vie for the coveted title in 2011, from Tyree Bastidas, the young, handsome reigning champ, to handball legend Joe Durso, the player everyone loves to hate. The fight for immortality in an obscure sport makes for compelling drama, while the shtick on and off the court (this is Brooklyn, after all) makes for great comedy -- it's material David Mamet or Woody Allen would be only too happy to lift. Written by Anonymous