Photo by Bill Fand
The RedBull 1-wall tournament started about seven years but in spite of being a fairly new handball tournament, it has position itself as one of the best 1-wall events everyone looks forward to play or watch.
It’s the only one-day tournament in the country with strange and fun facts. Here are some of them:
1.- The competition is open to top ranked players only.
2.- The tournament offers, small, big and pump ball events.
3.- It’s not considered a ranking event in spite of being played by top ranked players.
4.- It pays two thousand dollars to the winners of each division for one day’s work.
5.- No player in any category has ever won this tournament more than two consecutive years.
6.- A player could only compete in one division: either in the small, big or pump ball division.
7- The competition is played in a fun environment where players are treated to Redbull drinks, free handball souvenirs and where the competition takes place while music is played over the loudspeakers.
8.- Tv coverage is offered for the promotion of Redbull and 1-wall competition.
9.- It’s the only tournament that offers a rare glimpse into the old and strange pump ball competition.
10.- Every referee is paid by the end of the day.
11.- Every division has a distinct color uniform with the RedBull logo on it.
Right before the semifinal match of Sean Lenning vs Braulio Ruiz started; we took a break and went to grab a hamburger and a soda. We came back to watch the game in less than five minutes and to our surprise Ruiz was already serving at 17-3. It seemed that Ruiz was serving Lenning out throughout the first game.
The second and third game was all about Lenning serving out Ruiz. In the end it looked like both players had taken turns to serve each other out.
But what did really happen in the first blowout game and the rest of the match?
Because we couldn’t tell exactly what happened at the end of the match, we decided to go around looking for answers “I spoke to Sean and he told me the ball Braulio was using to serve him out was a deformed ball. Sean had a feeling something was wrong with the ball and brought it to the attention of the referee and a new ball was put in place after the first game” Keith Thode said.
Then we decided to approach and speak directly to Braulio Ruiz to get his input on this matter “I couldn’t keep up with Lenning after the first game because my hand gave up on me. I think I over did it during the first game.” Braulio said.
A couple of hours later after the Lenning and Ruiz match ended, Braulio Ruiz teamed up with Armando Ortiz to decimate former USHA national doubles champions, team Szatkowski. Team Ruiz/Ortiz won by using powerful low serves and by overpowering their older opponents with passing shots and blasting ferocious ceiling shots.
The KOTC handball tournament which has less than twenty years of existence has recorded all its winners as players who were unable to remain the number 1 seed for more than a year.
We have been tracking this tournament since its inception and have noticed that no player has been able to repeat in consecutive years.
We can fairly states that rookie has been the player to have won the most titles in this tournament, but can we fairly wonder: who has been the dominant player of this big ball tournament in the last ten years?
The answer is no one as our breakdown of big ball champions shows below. They are all excellent players, but none are dominant players. They just won in one year and lost in the following year. Is this a tradition or a curse? You be the Judge!
2014 Timothy Gonzalez
2013 – John Wright
2012 - Giovonni Vasquez
2011 - Yuber “PeeWee” Castro
2010 - John “Rookie” Wright
2009 - Giovonni Vasquez
2008 - Justin Richie
2006-2007 - No Tournament
2005 - George Figueroa
Players from the Northeast that included U.S. and Canadian players had to play each other for the right to challenge the best players of the west who specialize in 3-short-wall handball competition (small ball).
Nick Nahorniack from Chicago, Illinois teamed up with Jurell Bastidas from New York to play Ryan Bowler from Toronto, Canada and William Polanco from New York.
It was the first time that Nahorniack and Jurell Bastidas had teamed up to play in Las Vegas.
Nahorniack did team up with Tyree Bastidas to win the USHA national 4-wall doubles title in 2013.
For Polanco and Bowler it was also the first time to team up. Although Mr. Polanco is not strange to the men’s doubles competition, he had won this division with Tyree Bastidas back in 2010. Ever since then, Polanco has been looking for a new partner to replace Tyree to win this tournament again.
This match may have not been the championship match, but it certainly had all the ingredients of a final match as it was played with such intensity that both teams were worthy of advancing to the next round.
In the end, Team Nahorniack/Bastidas proved to be more compatible as a team than its opponents, and earned a pass to challenge the best players of the west.
Congratulations to all Northeast players.
The most Award-winning handball documentary was released in 2013 and to this date it remains the talk of the town.
“This Century’s best handball film…..showcases the best 1-wall handball players” Rich Chand said.
“The best handball documentary I’ve ever seen” Allan Finaglia commented
Indeed, The Kings of Coney Island handball documentary is the only film where current and past handball champions could be interviewed and seen in action.
The movie can be obtained thru: iTunes, Amazon and Xbox for easy streaming. It could also be downloaded directly from the Wegotnext film production website.Congratulations to all parties involved in making this documentary a “First-Rate” film