By John Duggan.
The Women Pro singles was won by Catriona Casey from Co, Cork.
Catriona is dominating the Women's division and, like Paul Brady, is striving for a perfect season. Danielle Daskalakis, another regular SMP Coach, had a very respectable fifth place finish.
The handball players enjoyed a spectacular Sunday evening in the 24th floor solarium, where Lou Manfredi, who turned 95 on St Patrick's Day, was honored with the Arthur Farhood Sportsmanship Award for his outstanding contributions. Although Luo was unable to attend, Killer's Club members and Board members, Dave Shakespeare, graciously accepted the award on his behalf.
The tournament was covered live on ESPN3 and special thanks go to all of the club's staff who helped coordinate this event and made it the phenomenal success that it was.
Special thanks, also, to the Kossoff family for their continue support of this event.
Ever wonder when you won your first juniors or open title?
Sometimes is hard to remember many things we did ten years ago, but when it comes to titles one try not to forget about it. We usually remember the name of our opponent, the name of the tournament and even the year.
This is the case of Tyree Bastidas an unknown kid outside New York who made history by successfully competing in all three handball codes. He won his first 1-wall juniors title in 2004 and his first 3-wall juniors title in 2005, becoming the youngest player to capture both USHA outdoor national titles by the age of 14.
Good luck to all junior players during the summer.
Many of you would like to think that money is ultimately the right answer, but read on.
We all know Steve Sandler had a serious problem with playing and gambling during his entire handball career as he would play and bet on anything, on anyone and even on himself. But what drove Steve to this path?
Mr. Sandler as a young player, dreamed on making money like any other young player would, but he chose the wrong sport to attain that goal.
Originally, he had a solid plan to make his dreams come true. He wanted to play basketball, but he was talked out of his dreams by Howie Eisenberg, who suggested to him to try handball.
“Until he was 16 Sandler had basketball, not handball, on his mind. Then someone pointed out that at 5 feet 7 his chances of making the New York Knicks were limited, so why not try handball” - From the archives of Sports Illustrated (1966).
When Sandler won the AAU men's singles title, he found plenty of satisfaction in the game, but no money. He did contemplate on leaving the game and was serious about quitting the game altogether, but he was talked out of it by Eisenberg.
“It is entirely possible that Sandler would have stayed retired if Howie Eisenberg, the man who took his place at the top, had not urged him to give it another try. Sandler did, beating Eisenberg in this year's National AAU Championships, 20-21, 21-5, 21-11, and taking back his title.” - From the archives of Sports Illustrated (1966)
“Sandler was so much into handball that betting just became part of his game, and even during his games he used to call time-outs just to ask around if his basketball team had won or if his favorite horse had already finished the race” said S. Marck, a player from the 70's.
Even Sandler's No 1 fan, Dan Flickstein, used to play and bet at Ave P Park in very contested games that sometimes ended in brawls and fights over money. In one instance Flickstein decided to abandon the betting world at Ave P and chose to keep playing handball over money games that weren't worth losing his life “In the early ‘70’s I played my last game and had my last fist fight at Avenue P. I came home one Saturday to tell my wife at the time “I’m never going back there. Either I’m going to kill somebody or somebody is going to kill me.
It’s not worth it. And I began traveling mainly to Coney Island, where guys played only for fun and to win” said Dan Flickstein
As time went on Steve Sandler kept playing handball and winning more titles, but his life had become so miserable he was once quoted “Being a national champion means nothing” He could have stopped playing handball altogether, but why couldn't he?
Addiction! He was already hooked into the game and to the gambling element surrounding the sport. By the time Sandler had reached the pinnacle of his handball career, he had also reached the lowest point in his life. He knew that winning more national titles wasn't going to get him any extra money other than his gambling earnings, as he knew he had been playing the wrong sport for money all along “Steve Sandler will always be remembered as a great player, a gambler and a hustler.” said Philip Travis, a handball player from 3rd Ave and 34 Street in Brooklyn.
Sadly, in the end, Steve Sandler was quoted by Dan Fliskstein “Being the best handball player allows me to sit in the Park with the rest of the bums”
What keeps you in the game, handball or money?
This year we are predicting big changes at the worlds at both: the men and women divisions.
Usually small changes of the guard take place during the games at the highest level of play, but this year the worlds' landscape seems destined to go through big changes.
How much pain and beating can a player take for ten years in a 4-wall game?
Not much. This year we expect someone to say “enough” to Paul Brady. And we believe that man would be Emmett Peixoto.
Mr. Peixoto may not have the “Irish Luck,” but he looks ready to explode on the court to claim the title this year.
In the women's division we have our favorite player; Catriona Casey, but when Ciana Ni enters the competition Miss. Casey becomes our second favorite.
Ciana Ni may be one of the youngest players in the open, but has some skills other players wish they have. She hasn't competed in the open as much as other players have, but we consider her to be the surprise of the tournament if seeded properly.
Good luck to all.
Temperatures were really good during tournament day and even topped the 80's for fronton players to compete and for fans to watch the games.
Players from various countries competed to qualify for the next Fronton finale to take place later in the summer.
Ireland was represented by Stephen Cooney while Bolivia sent a team led by its captain William Vargas.
It was a tough day for everyone playing, including the women division where many matches went the three way route.
With Tournament Director Albert Apuzzi running the show and Ana Calderon managing the desk the tournament ran smooth all day long with the exception of one incident, perpetrated by who else? Gio Vasquez. He was once again venting his anger and frustration while losing to Garnet.
Timothy Gonzalez and Danielle Daskalakis were the winners this year in the men and women divisions respectively.