Photo from Brooklyn’s Archives.
The most spectacular outdoors 1-wall handball court ever built belonged to Brooklyn. It was closed to the public in the 80’s and officially demolished in 1994 to make way for a residential development that completely changed the look and feel of this amazing place called Brighton Beach.
According to researches, the Brighton Beach Bath opened in 1907 and was a successful business until the 1930’s, but was unable to contend with the favored Coney Island. Soon it met its demise and remained an abandoned area. The end of World War II brought a volume of returning soldiers to the area.
The handball stadium took its name from Joe Garber, a 1-wall handball champion who fought in World War II and died in combat when his plane was shot down.
The stadium opened up in the late 40’s and became the epicenter of all 1-wall activity in the world. It also became a second home to many young families who appreciated all outdoors activities.
This famous facility boasted of more than 20 handball courts including the main court pictured above. It became the city’s largest private beach club and eventually was renamed the Brighton Beach Bath and Racket Club.
The AAU usually staged the 1-wall handball tournaments on these courts where hundreds of handball and paddleball enthusiasts practiced throughout the year.
It’s been 20 years since the closing of this great facility and a few traces of the old Brighton has survived. It has become a distant memory for all handball enthusiasts that grew up playing and enjoying all activities offered at the Brighton Beach Bath Club.
Above: Victor Lo Pierre, Mike Watson, Tyree Bastidas & Jonathan Iglesias Photo above: S. Smith and A. Mendez Photo above. Ana Calderon and Jurell Bastidas
Photos above by The Albany Open.
The most popular handball tournament in the Northeast welcomed Tyree and Jurell Bastidas for the first time in 2004. At that time both brothers were still teenagers and had never ventured to a 4-wall handball tournament outside New York.
Coach M. Watson offered to take both brothers along other junior players he had previously trained.
It was a lifetime experience that kept both brothers coming back to this tournament for the next ten years. It was here in Albany where Tyree and Jurell met USHA Hall of Fame Ana Calderon along other top players of the game. Both brothers always recommend the Albany Open to anyone who wants to have the best time of their life “there is always a division for anyone” said Jurell Bastidas.
“It’s amazing to see so many people from so many places come to this tournament every year“ Tyree said.
Photos below by Dan Gebben
The 3-wall nationals in Toledo, Ohio is always the best place to referee due to the vast number of volunteers from the area who are ready to help on short notice.
We have seen countless of referees doing their job during the long Labor Day weekend, but there is only one event where few referees dare to volunteer: the men’s open singles.
We had noticed that only one referee among a few had usually stepped forward to ref the men’s open singles final during the past ten years and we didn’t know who he was, so we asked Keith Thode from Michigan. Who is the main referee for the men’s open?
"His name is Jim Smith and he’s from the local area. He also plays handball and is very knowledgeable in the 3-wall handball version. He’s is probably the most qualified person to ref the finals" said Keith
It’s not easy reffing the finals and we wouldn’t recommend anyone doing so unless they have an advanced USHA referee certification and knowledgeable side referees ready to help them. We do encourage people to attend USHA seminars on handball referee certification offered by the association throughout the states.
See more photos of Mr. Smith.
Read more on referee certification……….
A great number of the best 4-wall players in the country and the WPH race4eight Pro tour showed up to compete in perhaps the toughest 4-wall tournament in the Northeast.
Tyree and his brother Jurell traveled to Milwaukee to challenge some of the best players of the game, and although Jurell fell to Luis Moreno in the bottom draw, Tyree managed to squeeze through the first rounds with tiebreakers that could have gone to any player “The Milwaukee tournament is always a great challenge for us” Tyree said.
“We can’t take anyone for granted. It’s never easy to get to the finals”
It’s true, Tyree Bastidas barely reached the championship match last year, but was stopped by a hungry Emmett Peixoto from California, who was looking to avenge all his loses throughout the year to national 1-, 3-& 4-wall champion, T. Bastidas from New York.
This year was not different and Mr. Peixoto stopped Bastidas from reaching the championship match to face Luis Moreno also from the West Coast.
According to Milwaukee handball officials the final was a real thrill: 11-10 in Moreno’s favor, the same score by which Tyree had defeated Andy Nett to reach the semifinals.
Photo by Keith Thode
The great Vince Munoz and his partner got to play against Tyree Bastidas and his partner Nick Nahorniack in 2013. Back then, both teams went all the way out to defeat each other in what appeared to be one of the most difficult games in the men’s open doubles. But as in any other division, only one team can win and the other must lose. Luckily, Tyree and Nick turned out to be on the winning side.
This year Tyree Bastidas and his partner Nick Nahorniack were staring at a big hurdle on their road to the finals. It was team Munoz and Carlos Chavez that once again threatened team Bastidas/Nahorniack's survival in this great tournament televised throughout the states by ESPN, courtesy of the WPH.
This time around, the match turned out to be very competitive where team Tyree/Nick’s fate was decided in the third game.
There is no doubt team Munoz/Chavez had brought its best game to reach the championship match where Munoz had tasted victory in the past. But as in previous year, team Munoz/Chavez had to walk away with a match loss that couldn’t be turned around even as it tried its best in the finals minutes. Team Bastidas/Nahorniack advanced to the finals.
Congratulations to both teams for putting up a great match.