Photo by USHA
Life is a beach for Brooklynites - handball players, tourists and regular old Brooklynites fed up with the unseasonably chilly spring flocked to Coney Island over memorial day weekend for the official opening of the beaches, the official start of handball competition and the unofficial start of summer.
Thousands of people passed through Luna Park while Deno's Wonder Wheel celebrated the iconic ride's 95th birthday on May 25.
This year the 1-wall nationals also celebrates the iconic competition's 90nd birthday (75-76 no event held) on July 29 where thousands of people have watched the games either from the boardwalk or from the sidelines.
The King of the Ring handball tournament was chosen to inaugurate the handball season this year as it draws the best 1-wall handball players that most likely will compete at the 1-wall nationals. Its winners have always reached the USHA men's open championship match: Cesar Sala, Tyree and Jurell Bastidas.
Good luck to all competitors at the 1-wall nationals.
Photo by PSAL
Who's Gary Luk? Where did he come from? These questions arose at the boys individual championships where he made his name known. A first singles from HS of Telecommunications Yellow Jackets, Luk is no stranger to stronger competition as he faced the power house of Fort Hamilton every year.
He advanced to the finals by a forfeit in the first round, a forfeit in the second round, easily moved past Juan Zapata (Francis Lewis) 21-4 in the quarterfinals and Jeremy Garcia (Francis Lewis) in the semifinals 21-6.
In the finals, he encountered the dangerous Jason Chong from James Madison. He made his way to the finals by defeating Javier Herrera (Hillcrest) 21-6 in the first round, forfeit in the second round, defeated Gerry Tran (Midwood) 21-6 in the quarterfinal round and Janquel Acevedo (Francis Lewis) 21-9 in the semifinals.
One of the most frightening moments in Dan Flickstein's writing career came around the summer of 2014 when Steve Sandler passed away. And as soon as he got the sad news, Flickstein rushed to write and devote his latest article “Champion of Champions” to Steve Sandler “With apologies to Joe Durso, Satish Jagnandan and Tyree Bastidas, all of whom have been or are brilliant talented one-wall singles champions, none will leave the Legacy the late Steve Sandler has left” wrote Flickstein. But why would Dan Flickstein rush to crucify Tyree so soon?
“Dan wants to make sure Steve is remembered as the best 1-wall player so that he can proudly say he played and competed against the best 1-wall player ever” said USHA Hall of Fame player, Albert Apuzzi.
Tyree Bastidas, the youngest and most accomplished player in the USHA 1-wall men's open division by the age of 23, not only has established more records and milestones than Sandler did at the open level, but has more USHA 1-wall open titles than Steve Sandler had in the Association at the same age (23).
Strangely, we have never read a Dan Flickstein's handball article where he had crucified Steve Sandler for his lack of USHA open titles or for his losing record when Sandler was also 23.
Tyree Bastidas at 23 and the current Number 1 seed, hasn't even blossomed as a player yet, so why would Flickstein rush to bury Tyree alive now?
“Ever since Dan started writing in the '60s, his articles usually have been about promoting Steve as the best 1-wall player, but now that Steve is gone, he's got the urge to bury Tyree sooner than later to make sure Steve is remembered as the best player ever and that's wrong” said Stephen Frank, a former 1-wall open player from Dan's era.
http://www.ushandball.org/content/view/481/430/ (Keep in mind that S. Sandler was 23 as of 1963)
Every handball player gets aced from time to time throughout his or her handball career. Even players that are considered the best players of their eras get aced.
In 1973 at the Brighton Beach Baths 1-wall invitational money tournament Steve Sandler got aced with a barrage of shots that simply couldn't return “But on this day Torres wouldn’t have lost to anybody. Instead of serving to the left, as he did to almost all his opponents, Torres moved to the center of the court to serve perhaps a dozen or more aces past Sandler’s right–no small task. And when the ball was meagerly returned, Torres simply killed it. Sandler was held to a single point, probably the worst trouncing he had ever taken” said Dan Flickstein.
Fast-forward forty two years and we found ourselves in 2015 at the Coney Island handball courts where Darren Chin, a product of PSAL handball competition and considered one of the hardest hitters in recent years was about to serve the ball while Tyree was at the receiving end. Darren powered the ball to probably more than 80 mph to the left side, snugging the ball between the long and short line 'That was a bullet and I wasn't going to try to get that” said Tyree.
“I didn't even try to make an attempt to get to the ball. It was too fast”
Why are we highlighting Darren Chin's ace serve?
Because Tyree has been aced before, but never with a ball traveling so fast and so low (approximately 2-3 inches off the ground), and snugged to the closest point between the short and the long line.
Darren Chin's ace serve will be noted as the best against Tyree as of 2015.
Congratulations to Mr. Darren Chin.
Photo from Brooklyn Archives.
There are so many handball courts built in New York City, it’s hard to tell which ones are the oldest. But the handball courts in Coney Island are one of the few courts where we actually did get some old photos where we could see and admire the Iconic Boardwalk that has been a staple to the handball courts since the 1920s.
Coney Island’s iconic Boardwalk is getting a big make over for a bid to get landmark status. The Boardwalk that can be seen in the photo posted above has been drastically altered several times and is expected to get landmark status in the near future. It was built in 1923 which marks the earliest year we can trace the Coney Island handball courts to. The year also coincides with the first 1-wall national tournament ever held in the United States.
The City of New York in conjunction with the Park Commission, started to build more handball courts around the city during the Great depression.
‘New York is home to some of the top outdoor recreational and historic sites in the world, and it is critical that we safeguard them for generations to come,” Tyree said.