Photos by Bill Fand (third from top) and Keith Thode (bottom photo).
By John Duggan
At the USHA National One-Wall Championships, Tyree Bastidas and Danielle Daskalakis completed the “NYAC Slam.” Tyree Bastidas entered the men’s pro singles as the top seed, gunning for his third consecutive and fourth overall singles title. In the final, he faced two-time national singles champion, Cesar Sala, and prevailed in a summer classic, 14-21,21-11,11-9. Bastidas completed a perfect weekend, claiming the doubles title with NYAC team mate Billy O’Donnell, defeating Victor Lopierre and Timbo Gonzalez 21-9, 21-18 in the final.
Danielle Daskalakis entered the women’s one wall singles determined to win her first pro singles title at Coney Island’s One Wall Championships and accomplished the feat in dramatic fashion, scoring an 11-21, 21-16, 11-4 win over Sandy Ng in the final.
Daskalakis completed the slam by teaming up with Ng for the doubles and defeating Dori Ten and Barbara Canton-Jackson 21-4, 21-2.
The success that these athletes have achieved would not be possible without the support of the NYAC; in return, they have confirmed that the NYAC is the strongest handball club in the world.
On the 21st floor, Stephen Cooney, will be coordinating a winter handball league and all are welcome to participate. For more information please contact Tom Smario at firstname.lastname@example.org or stop by the courts.
Don’t forget: the 45th NYAC Burt Kossoff and WPH R48Pro V is scheduled to take place from March 10th to 13th, 2016.
Top Photo - Ana Giner serving the ball.
Ever wonder what games to watch in the women's division at the worlds?
Look no further than two of the most intense players in the open division: Na Liu from the U.S. and Ana Belen Giner from Spain. Their play was so similar, they had to split the first two games to finish it up in the longest tiebreaker in the women's division. The entire match was probably played close to three hours with the final score of 11-10 in favor of the Spaniard.
We believe this exhausting match was the main reason for the Spaniard to forfeit her next match against eventual champion, Danielle Daskalakis. Mrs. Giner did play her quarter final match, but started to cramp as soon as the first game started.
Next time Na Liu from Brooklyn, New York and Ana Giner from Valencia, Spain are schedule to play, fans should drop everything they are doing and watch them play. Both ladies will make sure you watch top level of competition.
If Steve Sandler were to play handball today, he probably wouldn't be allowed to compete due to the overuse of the powerful anti-inflammatory medicine cortisone. This was regularly used to lessen the swelling in his right arm. “Before tournaments he would almost like an addict, drug his arm with cortisone” reported Dan Flickstein in 1977 (see above).
Handball may not be an Olympic sport yet, but that shouldn't entitle its players to use drugs and substances that are banned in other sports.
It may be possible that if a handball player is caught in a situation similar to Sandler's, the association may have no choice but to ban the player from entering the tournament. This would be to ensure fair competition and to prevent the player from further injuring himself. How fair would it be for one player to reach the finals feeling as fresh as his/her first round of competition while the opponent feels the fatigue and injuries of going through five or more rounds of open competition?
This of course is the ideal scenario for anyone competing in the finals. However, conditioning and preparedness should determine this scenario, not through masking the pain with cortisone or other substances. This is how a stocky, aggressive pit bull of a man, Steve Sandler, probably played from 1966 to 1971, when he pushed his way to the finals to win six USHA singles titles.
Sandler's prolonged use of cortisone may have been a reason why he lost the cartilages in his two knees as a young player, noted Dan Flickstein. Studies have shown that too many injections may weaken tendons, ligaments, and accelerate the loss of cartilage. Cortisone is a potent hormone called “glucocorticoid” and its shots usually include a corticosteroid medication and a local anesthetic administered in a doctor's office. The use of corticosteroid is banned in Olympic competition and many other sports in the 21st century.
During the '60s, the use of many drugs, including cortisone were not regulated as much as in the 21st century, thus, the use of many drugs in sports went largely unnoticed. Was Sandler's practice of injecting cortisone to numb his hand before tournaments fair to the competition?
While there is certainly an advantage of playing pain-free unlike the rest of the competition, Sandler didn't break any rules as the use and overuse of many drugs and other performance-enhancing drugs during the ‘60s was rampant and unregulated.
Top Photo - Catriona Casey. Bottom Photo - Danielle (front) and Sandy.
By John Duggan
The 45th Annual Kossoff Handball Tournament, in conjunction with the Men’s Pro Tour and the Women’s Elite, will be held from Thursday, March 10th through Sunday, March 13th on the 21st floor of the City House. The event, which will feature the world’s best male and female competitors, will. Once again, be covered live on ESPN3.
The NYAC players will be odds-on favorites to win gold medals in both the men’s and women’s divisions. Leading the men’s side will be five-time world champion and perennial favorite, Paul Brady; however, he will face stiff competition from fellow team members, Colin Crehan, Stephen Cooney and Robbie McCarthy.
On the ladies’ side, look for another super performance from Tracy Davis, but, she will be hard pressed by fellow team members, Danielle Daskalakis and Catriona Casey. Catriona grew up playing handball at Ballydesmond Handball Club in Co. Cork, Ireland, won back to back US Open titles and was unbeaten in her first two seasons on the women’s pro tour.
In Ireland she completed a career slam, across all codes: quite impressive for a 21-year old!
Killer’s Club members to watch out for in the tournament include Gerard Pagello, Paul Williams, Jim Normile, Phil Clifford, John Vrabel, Vern Hayden, Tom Carr, Tom Tassone, Ted Gewetz and our Killer’s Club vice president Lenny Acosnsky. Match times will be posted on-line on R2Sports.com
To see the live action, stop by the 21st floor or watch on ESPN3.
Special thanks to the Kossoff family for their continued support of this very prestigious event.