Bottom two photos by Keith Thode - Mrs. Martin poses with the all-women Clear Water Academy staff in one photo while the all-men Canadian Handball Committee poses in the other photo.
Every handball tournament around the world is usually handled to present the best tournament possible. Such is the case of the 1-wall world handball championships that took place in Calgary, Canada this year. But no matter how good the tournament is presented there are always details that can't be fixed and are too obvious to ignore.
The all-men Canadian Handball Committee went out of its way to build six brand new 1-wall handball courts at the Clear Water Academy Gymnasium to hold the world 1-wall handball competition in 2015.
It was a project that took several weeks to finish at a cost of thousands of dollars. But in the end only three courts were used as the long yellow lines of all six courts were too close to each other and presented a dangerous situation for the players. But how did the Canadian Handball Committee miscalculate the proximity among the courts?
In an era of fast internet and communication, all they had to do was to contact the USHA or any other 1-wall handball player in New York for advise.
Because of the unnecessary waste of money and time on this project, and with many people reluctant to talk about it, we decided to approach and talk to Mrs. L. Martin who was in charge of the great hospitality offered by the students at the Clear Water Academy during the first week of 1-wall competition and asked her. How could you guys let this happen?
“Don't blame all of us. It was the men's fault” said Mrs. Martin.
“Had the Canadian Association included a woman in the handball Committee this would have never happened. If we are not sure of something, we'd have asked around, men simply don't like to ask another man for advise”
One of the most interesting matches at the 1-wall nationals in the women's division took place during the semifinals on a hot Saturday afternoon where Melanie and Jessenia Garate pushed defending doubles champions: Danielle Daskalakis and Sandy Ng to a third game.
Melaine and Jessenia had a great run playing singles and doubles in high school handball competition this year. They even played in open events before they joined forces at the 1-wall nationals. But despite their great effort to reach the semis, Sandy Ng was quoted “People think they pushed us to the tiebreaker when in fact we just let them go to the tiebreaker”
Whether the 17-year-old sisters pushed the defending champions or not we believe the youngsters put up a great game with their non-stop volley.
Is Team Melaine/Jessenia Garate the youngest sisters to reach the semifinals of the women's open doubles division at the USHA 1-wall nationals?
Apparently it is and they still have another opportunity to become the first teen open doubles champions next year at the USHA 1-wall nationals.
We managed to dig deep into the past of USHA History to bring to our readers another epic handball run by New York teenagers – great runs never told or spoken by players of the past.
We don't know too much about Mitchell and Gary Straus other than their winnings at the USHA 4-wall junior nationals in the 17-and-under singles division in 1967 and 1968 respectively. But in 1968 the two 17-year-old brothers traveled to Michigan to compete against the best 3-wall players in the U.S. The national 3-wall open divisions were dominated entirely (singles & doubles) by mostly 1-wall champions in that decade. http://tyreebastidas.webs.com/3wallopenchampionship.htm
The Teen brothers stunned the handball world in the last day of the tournament as they advanced deep into the draw from the preliminary games to defeat defending 3-wall national open champions: Oscar and Ruby Obert and team Kramberg & Steve Sandler (current 1-wall champion at the time).
But how can an inexperience young team and fresh out of high school, beat the best 1-and 3-wall players of the game?
We don't have an answer, but the question does leaves the door open once again for people to question the quality of the players and the state of the game in those years.
Mitchell Straus wasn't even considered a top junior 1-wall player, but decided to try his luck and competed at the USHA 1-wall junior nationals in 1968 where he lost to another teenager, Mark Levine (16-years-old) in two straight games.
This great 3-wall run by these young brothers in 1968 along other teen runs we had brought up to light in previous posts have been kept as a secret by some players of the past who rather talk about how great they were during the years in question.
It's hard to believe but it seems that some players of the past are not really happy when beaten by teenagers when in fact there is nothing wrong when losing to a teen player. It could just be that the open player had an off day, was injured or too tired to play, but they can not deny these teenagers credit for their best performance. They need to give credit where credit is due.
Howie Eisenberg, a player of the past who wasn't crazy about teenager players beating him and his friends at the open level during his best years in the 20th century, has also gone to great lengths to criticized Tyree Bastidas, the best all-around teen handball player in the 21st century.
It wasn't easy to reveal this epic run as it took several months and many emails to get to the bottom of this story. But thanks to our readers who provided us with most of the information, we managed to back it up with a copy of the USHA Official draw.
Congratulations to Mitchell and Gary Straus from the Bronx, NY for their great run. The twin brothers became the youngest team to ever reach the finals of the 3-wall nationals in USHA History. It's a milestone that still stands after almost half a century.
For the first time in the history of the fronton international tournament, a non-European woman player, won the final showdown held in Brooklyn, New York during the month of June. It was a tough competition that included players from various countries from Asia, Europe and America.
Jessica Lopez, who is not stranger to the finals, had a tough match at the semifinals as she had to face defending champion, Maritxu Housset
in a grueling tiebreaker she barely won to advance to the championship match.
On the other side of the draw Jasmina Djukanovic from former Yugoslavia, advanced to the finals after defeating another formidable player.
Jessica and Jasmina had faced each other in other fronton events where Jessica usually have prevailed. The women's finals on the last day was not different.
Congratulations to both ladies: Jessica Lopez and Jasmina Djukanovic.
Photo above: Darren Chin (white shirt) follows the action as Eugene Lau returns the ball.
Darren Chin and Eugene Lau crushed the competition while playing in the juniors divisions and while representing their schools. They've been considered the hardest hitters in the last three years and no one has been able to stop them from decimating their opponents.
Both players are at least 6 feet tall and so far have beaten some of the open players since 2014. But how far can they go in the 1-wall handball world with all that power?
Far, very far. We believe it's a matter of time before they start reaching the semis and finals of the men's open.
In 1992 John Bike Jr. blasted his way through the 1-wall nationals to reach the finals, only to be stopped by Joe Durso.
More recently, Sean Lenning also blasted his way through the 1-wall worlds to reach the finals to beat Victor Lopierre.
We believe both: Darren and Eugene can eventually blast their way through the 1-wall competition and capture the coveted USHA 1-wall national title.