Above: Tyree Bastidas becomes youngest champion in 50-year history of National one-wall Handball Tournament on Sunday
Photo by Nicholas Fevelo
August 10, 2010
Having A Ball!
Bastidas youngest champ in
By Elio Velez
Tyree Bastidas was arguably the happiest man in
Bastidas took off his gloves and was quickly surrounded by some of the hundred onlookers, who were eager to congratulate the youngest man to ever be crowned in the 57-year history of the event.
He wasn’t the least bit shy to be the recipient of so much attention. ”It certainly feels good to see them come up to me,” Bastidas said with grin. “I don’t mind.”
Sunday capped an exiting end for Bastidas at the tournament, a five-day event sponsored by the USHA, an organization based in
In previous years, the event has been dominated by a handful of players; this year’s tournament had a different spin: two new young champions.
In addition to Bastidas, 17-year-old Sandra Ng edged Theresa McCourt for the Women’s Open Title.
Bastidas said he felt it was his time to shine. A quick and strong two-handed player, he started at the age of 14 and captured 37 titles at the national level.
As a senior at Midwood HS in 2009, Bastidas grabbed the PSAL individual handball championship. He’s traveled across the country, as well as to
When Bastidas entered the tournament this year, the favorite were a pair of of past champions, Cesar Sala and Satish Jagnandan. Those players were eliminated in last week’s preliminary rounds, giving Bastidas the path to victory.
“I got a lot of passion for this,” Bastidas said. “I think that last five years help me to get here. I’ve always wanted to come here and win.”
Ng became the second-youngest woman to win the title. Anna Calderon won the first of her five championships in the mid-1980s when she was 16. With the Open title in hand, Ng, a recent graduate of Edward R. Murrow HS, managed what handball enthusiasts calls the “slam,” fending off the 90-degree heat with partner Danielle Daskalakis to capture the Women’s doubles title.
“It was great winning. You got to have fun, and I do,” said Ng, adding that she’d like to see and increasing number of youngsters take up the sport.” You got to be serious once you get on the court, too.”
Handball is not just for the young up-and-comers; it is still enjoyable for people of all ages. Bay Ridge’s Tom Vitale, 70, overcame lung cancer in 1998 and took up the sport to maintain his vitality. With 14 master titles, he says that handball has more than done the trick.
“For us old people, it keeps you alive,” Vitale said. “it brings out anything left that I have in me.”
New York Daily News, Brooklyn Sports, page 19
Above: One-wall National champion,Tyree Bastidas, shows who the boss is at the famous Coney Island handball courts.
Photo courtesy of Bill Fand.
It may seem like a colossal mismatch to have three- or four-wall players compete against
It’s well known in the handball community that the National 3-, and 4-wall championships have always been captured by players from all over the country, including
During the 90s, the best 3-, and 4-wall players have come to New York looking for the ultimate “Fame and Recognition” at the Coney Island handball courts, and tried to shock the world by taking over the 1-wall Open division with no success.
The set of standards for winning the Open National titles hasn’t changed in the history of the game:
1-wall players win USHA 1-, 3-, and 4-wall national titles.
3-wall players win USHA 3-, and 4-wall national titles.
4-wall players win USHA 3-, and 4-wall national titles.
Why can’t 3-, and 4-wall players win the USHA 1-wall Open National title?
The one-wall handball version has always been considered the most difficult to win of all three handball versions. This is the main reason 3-, and 4-wall players always make sure they win either the 3-, or the 4-wall national titles first, then venture east to try to capture the title that is always missing in their handball resume. They always attempt to do this while they are at the peak of their handball career.
Three-,and four-wall National Champion players such as N. Alvarado Jr, J. Bike Jr, V. Munoz, M.Chavez, D. Bell, O. Silveyra, D. Chapman, E. Peixoto and others have made their peregrine trip during their prime, to Brooklyn, the Mecca of one-wall handball in America.
One-wall is played in extreme whether conditions, and involves intensity and aggressiveness, it requires extreme preparation, superb conditioning and a lot of stamina to complement a handball player' skills.
Tyree Bastidas captured the most difficult Open title among the USHA 1-, 3-, and 4-wall handball versions on August 8, 2010. He will always be remembered as the youngest player to win the USHA National One-Wall Men’s Open Singles title.
The Coney Island crowd gave him a lengthy standing ovation as soon as the championship match ended.
"I felt bad for them," Bastidas said. "I had them waiting, a long, long time."
If there was any lingering doubt about whether Tyree Bastidas was the greatest junior player to play handball, he provided the answer at the famous
Congratulations to Tyree on another memorable victory that will stand out in American handball history for many years to come.
Video courtesy of A. Apuzzi
Above: An amazin get by an amazing kid thrills the Coney Island crowd.
Photo courtesy of Bill Fand
All three handball versions are fun to watch and play, and all three versions are tough to play and win, but the one-wall version is the stand out version most players aim to win to be considered a true champion. Winning the USHA national 1-wall Open singles title has always been considered the highest honor to be captured at the national level.
During the 2000s, 3-, and 4-wall players continued to come back to
Paul Brady, the current 4-wall USHA and Irish National Champion ventured to the USHA 3-wall Nationals in 2004 and put on an awesome show on the courts where he reached the semi-finals match. Not bad for a 4-wall national champion, and perhaps the best 4-wall champion in the last 20 years.
Paul Brady, while in town in
Unfortunately, he was crushed in two games and was left in low single digit numbers. Ever since then, Paul Brady was never seen again in the city, and never came back to play at the 1-wall nationals, the toughest USHA National Championship to win.
On the other hand,
If you didn’t think that Tyree was the most versatile and best junior player in the USHA history, this winning may have changed your mind.