Photos by Australian Handball Association - Gloves by Owen.
One of the oldest and toughest handball tournaments in Australia took place in Melbourne during the first week of April, where players always look forward to compete as a preview of where they stand before the Australian National Open takes place during the Easter weekend.
Tyree Bastidas, who was invited to participate in this important event by the Australian Handball Association, had to make some serious adjustments to his game, which is usually played on a 20 by 40 court size.
The Australian 3-wall court size is 30 by 60, a big difference from the American handball courts.
“With so much court to cover there is a lot of running to do here” Tyree said.
“You really have to be in top shape to play 3-wall in Australia. Some of the rules are also different and the walls are huge, but this is what makes this game interesting in Melbourne. It was totally a different experience for me, and the competition could turn fierce when least expected”
Sean King, the defending champion was a familiar face for Tyree. Mr. Thomas-King had traveled to Venice Beach before to play in the USHA 3-wall junior nationals when Tyree was 15 year-old, but never crossed paths with Tyree as he played in a different age bracket division.
Both: Sean and Tyree reached the finals by vesting the best players and had no choice but to cross each other’s paths for the first time during the championship match that turned out to be very exciting and competitive.
In the end, Tyree came out as the winner, but it wasn’t a walk in the Park either “The final match took most of the air out of my lungs. Had I gone to the third game, I would have been in trouble.” Tyree said.
Photo by Dan Gebben
For the past ninety years, New York handball players have dominated the handball circuit all across the states by establishing records: individually or in teams. They have also dominated most of the divisions: Juniors, Open and Masters, including, men and women.
Because New York players have such a love for the game and play with so much intensity on the court, they have managed to dominate almost every division in the USHA from 1951-2013.
Not only they have dominated and captured the most titles, but they have established the most records and milestones in the Association.
When we talk about the greatest players of the game, New Yorkers can’t be ignored.
New Yorkers always love to excel in everything they do and they always like to be first and in control of their games
From the Junior to the Open Divisions New Yorkers have been ruling the handball sport in 1-, 3-, and 4-wall handball versions overall. Such is the case of the following USHA record holders in the doubles divisions, who have established records that still stand in American handball History.
The following breakdown is not in any particular order and is a testament of the best players of the Association.
USHA record holders (doubles), who have won an open title in all three handball codes:
Tyree Bastidas – NY
He won ten (10) doubles junior titles overall.
Ruby Obert – NY
He won fourteen (14) doubles open titles overall.
Rosemary Bellini - NY
She won fourteen (14) doubles open titles overall.
Photos by USHA
New York player, Tyree Bastidas, surprised everyone during the Hall Of Fame tournament as he greeted everybody at the door at the USHA headquarters in Arizona, courtesy of the USHA. But how was Tyree spotted in Arizona on April 5, when he was physically in New York on the same date?
The staff at the United States Handball Association had a banner at the entrance with Tyree Bastidas selected as the Best of 2013 on it.
This is not the first time the USHA had honor Tyree Bastidas with a banner or a life-size cut out to represent our sport in other events.
Any player, including junior players who go out of his/her way throughout the year could be selected to this honor. Nope, you don’t need to win every single tournament the way Tyree does, but you are expected to excel in most handball versions you choose to play.
The ELKS handball tournament that was inaugurated last year to mark the end of the 1-wall indoor handball season on April, it’s still running strong as more teams with a great diversity of small and big ball players showed up to compete for the money prize that Tournament Director, Alvaro Rebaza created to keep players active during the spring season.
Not only did the games were played indoors, but the games were webcasted (live) throughout the day, courtesy of Alethia Mendez, a Board Members of the One-Wall Committee, who devoted her time to record and webcast all the games via Livestream.com.
Mr. William Polanco, another Board Member of the 1-wall Committee also was on site helping around and making sure the tournament runs smooth.
All winners and runner-ups playing with the small and the big ball walked away with hundreds of dollars at the end of the day.
Congratulations to Miss. Mendez, Mr. Polanco and Mr. Rebaza for their effort in putting together this great event that keeps growing in popularity.
Tyree and Jurell Bastidas have been participating at the Canadian nationals since 2007, when they traveled north for the first time.
The Canadian nationals have always been one of their favorite tournaments as the hospitality, camaraderie and competition are the best. “We haven’t missed any of the Canadian nationals held in the Northeast in the past seven years” said Tyree, who recently sustained a hand injury and has won juniors and open titles at the Canadian nationals before.
“I wish I could go, but my new job schedule doesn’t allow me to take off from Wednesday to Friday” Jurell said.
“I don’t understand why the Canadian nationals don’t start on Thursday to attract more players” Danny Bell said a couple of years ago.
We were very disappointed Tyree and Jurell couldn’t attend as three more players (Na, Amalie and Robert), were also scheduled to come along and play.
Good luck to everyone at the Canadian nationals (CHA).