Photo courtesy of the USHA
Tyree Bastidas and Paul Brady made history at the most important on-line handball poll at the ushandball .org. For the second consecutive year, they were voted the best of the best of 2010 with Bastidas taking first place.
As a future handball star, growing up in New York, Bastidas was the typical handball fan and player “I spent so much of my time on the courts, and now I’m so happy to be recognized by the handball community in the U.S. and abroad” said Tyree.
What makes them so popular is the convincing way of winning titles at the national level. They both decimated the competition, and like most of their straight wins, they just showed total domination.
Playing with the relentlessness that has become their trademark, they have crushed the competition since 2005. Both players have caught the attention of the handball community and have continued to open eyes by being unstoppable on the court.
Coincidentally, Bastidas and Brady played at the USHA 3-wall nationals for the first time in 2004. They didn’t know each other then, but they might have crossed each other’s path during the 5-day marathon competition, where 1-, 3- and 4-wall players converge at the biggest handball party of the year. Ever since then Bastidas and Brady have been regarded as the most dominant players of the century and while most of Bastidas’ achievements were accomplished as a junior player, P. Brady’s achievements were accomplished as an open player.
It’s one more chapter of history for Bastidas and perhaps the grandest.
By now, one might be wondering why both players have captivated everyone’s attention? No, it’s not just their winning edge and desire to be the best, but rather other similarities that have catapulted Bastidas as an icon in the junior divisions and Brady as the icon in the Men’s open division.
The following list details some of the most important facts in handball that both players share in common:
1.- As junior players, T. Bastidas and P. Brady have won USHA national titles.
2.- T. Bastidas and P. Brady have captured 1-wall big ball national titles.
3.- Both players have won World handball titles.
4.- Both players have competed at the USHA Open 3-wall nationals. Bastidas reached the championship match while Brady reached the semifinals.
5.- They both have won national titles in the U.S. and Ireland.
6.- Bastidas and Brady have captured at least one USHA national title per year from 2005 to present.
7.- Bastidas and Brady have won USHA national titles sometimes by leaving all their opponents in single digits.
8.- Bastidas has won 10 consecutive USHA national titles, while P. Brady has won 6 consecutives USHA national titles.
9.- T. Bastidas and P. Brady have captured Open titles in the Men’s Doubles division.
10.- T. Bastidas has captured national titles with the small and big ball in the U.S. as well as national titles with the small ball abroad. P. Brady has captured national titles with the small and big ball in Ireland, as well as national titles with the small ball abroad
11.- Both players have won USHA national Open titles in the Men’s Singles division.
12.- Both players were voted as the best of the best two years in a row by handball fans in the online poll conducted by the USHA.
13.- Both players are sponsored by the prestigious New York Athletic Club, N.Y.A.C.
Elks' youngsters honored for their accomplishments during the 2010 season
Above from left: Handball Legends A. Reyer, a USHA Hall Of Fame member and M. Levine a winner of the AAU National Open Men's Singles division when he was a teenager and a winner of several AAU and USHA National Open Men's Doubles divisions, join T. Bastidas to celebrate during the Awards Ceremony. Bastidas wasn't even born when Reyer and Levine went in an stampede capturing national open titles.
Above: T. Bastidas diving to return a ball during the exhibition game.
Above: from right: A. Mendez and W. Polanco present the Award to T. Bastidas. In the background there is a picture of Bastidas reflected on the wall,where he is seen diving at the nationals as part of the Award presentation.
Most photos above courtesy of S. Schilder
Almost 100 people attended the exhibition games scheduled for the 2010 Award Dinner on Saturday 19. Handball supporters, including handball legends A. Reyer and M. Levine along with ICHA officials P. William and G. Hall, were on site to celebrate another successful year for the one-wall handball community and to watch the invitational games with the best handball players in the country.
Skybounce representative, Chris Vazquez also attended this important event to show his support for the handball community as he's done in previous years.
The handball games that many were craving finally took place as scheduled at the Elks Sports Center in Queens. This was the first time Elks' Secretary Officer, M. Watson, organized an incredible event of this magnitude.
Although all the exhibition games were played with the highest skills and intensity displayed at national tournaments, the game of Tyree Bastidas and Joshua Garcia vs Yuber Castro and William Polanco was the main attraction of the night as the young team Bastidas/Garcia pushed the current national champions Castro/Polanco to the edge. Never before team Castro/Polanco has been pressed and tested playing at their highest level of play. Even at their best, team Castro/Polanco had a hard time overcoming team Bastidas/Garcia. Both teams used every single point available as the final score was 21-20.
Team Castro/Polanco was trailing 20-9 before making a dramatic comeback to win the game. “I absolutely anticipated the game to be hard-fought. "This is my home court where I practice for the nationals and fans are paying money to see these games” said Tyree
"Being at home, I wanted to come out and put on a good show," said Bastidas. "Playing in front of my hometown fans, this will be my last celebration of junior achievements here at home. So it's great."
“I played hard because I don’t want any outside team to get the wrong impression that it’s a cake-walk playing at the Elks” added Tyree.
There’s plenty of praise to go around at the Elks. W. Polanco deserves some. P. Angel deserves some. But the persons who belonged to the event committee deserve the most praise of all.
Alethia Mendez, a member of the Elks officiated the entire evening event while USHA long time reporter and W. Kendler Award recipient D. Flickstein was on site enjoying the festivities throughout the event.
Thanks to A. Garcia for refereeing most of the games, and Albert Apuzzi for filming the games throughout the night.
Above: Glen Hall addresses the audience during the Dinner and Awards Ceremony.
Above from left: D. Daskalakis, D. Ten, K. McConney and T. McCourt during the small ball game exhibition.
Above from left: L. Acevedo, K. McConney, A. Floyd(black shirt) and M. Crespo during the big ball game.
Above from Left: W. Amaro, G. Vasquez(diving), G. Ruiz and H. Mendez(white shirt) during the action of the big ball exhibition game.
Most photos above courtesy of Scott Schilder
Watch the game...
One-Wall’s Fastest Players…….of all time – T. Bastidas mentioned among fastest players
Above: T. Bastidas (red trunks) returning a fast ball served by hard hitter L. Rodriguez.
D. FlicksteinFor nearly two years now, one of the fastest men who ever played one-wall handball has been coaxing me to provide my insights on the speediest one-wall competitors I have witnessed played the game. I have been slow to respond to Albert Apuzzi’s request because defining speed in a one-wall handball game is a complex task. The following questions race to mind regarding this type of speed:
Are we referring only to fleetness of foot, meaning how long it takes for a player to run from one side of the court to another or from a position nearest the wall to the long line, or from the long line to a position nearest the wall, or all three of the aforementioned?
Does speed include how quickly a player is able to rise from the ground after having dived to return a ball which seemed to have been killed?
Is speed judged by its effectiveness in winning games? Or, do we simply use a stopwatch to see how fast a player crosses the court? In such case, we may consider players who never entered a tournament, or maybe never even won one single game, or, in the absurd, never actually played one single game. Does speed imply which one-waller is fastest in a foot race of a hundred yards – or less- or more?
Does speed imply anticipation? Some players, without realizing it, are gifted in unconsciously perceiving and being able to react to opponents’ movements. Such players are then capable of starting to run in the “right” direction earlier than others, who move their feet faster than the “non-anticipators?”
Does speed account for the length of a player’s stride? Long legged one-wallers may take two strides to catch up to a ball while short legged people may take three or four? Or, again, is it simply the amount of time it takes for anyone to catch up to a ball?
Does the question of speed consider endurance for a singles game, an entire match, or one single rally – or one single return?
Criteria are so many and varied that I have evaded the challenge of thinking further about it. Moreover, perhaps because speed was never one of my virtues when I was a strong player, I don’t consider it as important a factor in winning handball games as does my friend and motivator of the words contained herein, Albert Apuzzi.
There were, however, several players I observed during my best days as a top competitor, who may have been very fast, but for whom great speed was unnecessary because they made the opposition do all the running. I refer specifically to Ken Davidoff, Howie Eisenberg, and Oscar Obert of the 60’s, all of whom had massive offensive weapons, which forced all their opponents to exercise defensive skills.
Each of those men may have been very fast. They just didn’t need to be. Some 20 years later Joe Durso fell into that category. With less ability, I used the same approach in my own game plan – hit the serve very hard and shoot for a kill when the ball is returned softly. Most of the time, during my era, this strategy proved effective. The major exception I experienced occurred when I played Steve Sandler, who in my opinion may not have been the fastest to have ever player one-wall, but was, by far, the greatest retriever in the game’s history. I doubt anyone of Steve’s era would disagree!
In the beginner of Sandler’s championships era, he won matches through control, steadiness, and relentless retrieving. He defeated all the “irresistible forces” of his day, including the three aforementioned power-houses, who had cannons for arms. An he accomplished this without noteworthy power and with merely a mediocre serve. David off once told me that his toughest matches were always against Sandler. By the end of a match with Steve, Ken would be thoroughly exhausted from how many times he had to strike the ball because of Sandler’s incessant retrieving. According to Ken, Steve returned shots no one else would have gotten near. Matches against Steve Davidoff explained, were much tougher than those against Oscar because the oldest of the great Oberts was always shooting and ended rallies quickly.
Davidoff also claimed that Carl Obert was tougher and more exhausting for him to play than Oscar. I witnessed Carl Obert play one-wall. He was, indeed, amazingly fast. He had to be. While owning the best hook service for a singles player I have ever seen, he carried a less than adequate off-hand. Yet the crafty lefty maintained rally after rally by running around the court to cover for his weak right. This demanded not only great anticipation, but great foot speed as well. And like both his brothers, and Sandler too, his super stamina enabled him to exhibit this type of speed throughout a three-game match of 21 points each. His occasional victories over men like Davidoff and Eisenberg are surely attributed to his great offensive arsenal, but no doubt his fleetness of foot contributed.
Carl’s offense once obliterated another remarkable fast man, Winfield Balance, who competed among the best players of the 60’s for about five years, seemed to be able to outrun just about anything. His issue with Carl was not catching up to drives and diving to return kills. In Winfield’s one match against Carl, he simply could not react quickly enough to hooks that broke a foot away from his outstretched arms, or prevent other hopping serves from bouncing into his chest or stomach. He performed much better against the drives and kills of Eisenberg and Davidoff.
Winfield was pure speed! He relied on it entirely. His serve was weak. He merely put the ball in play and hoped to outrun his opponents. More than occasionally he would overrun the ball and be forced to hit it on a short hop. The man hit more “scoop” shots than any other two players combined. In the old Brownsville Boys Club, where the first national USHA One-Wall Tournament was held, photographs of matches would be placed on a large bulletin board. All the player’s images came out clear except for those of Balance.
Winfield’s image was always blurry as though he were too fast to capture on film by the lens of the camera.
During the 70’s, a player similar in quality to Balance appeared on the one-wall scene. Ruben Gonzalez was an average-size man with the enormously muscular calves of a cyclist. Gonzalez won his matches, and, in fact, a national championship in 1976 with no offense of which to speak, but with lightning speed and fabulous endurance. He first displayed this in a losing first round effort against Neal Bocian, who was spent after winning the third game by a point or two against Ruben’s initiation into the world of National Tournament competition. Neal could bottom-board kills with his whip-like left arm better than almost anyone. Yet, time after time, what would have been rolling kills against almost any other opponent came back to the wall from the diving thrusts of Gonzalez’ prone body. Ruben, for several years, became a force in one-wall, eventually defeating all the top players of the mid-70’s including Al Torres and, after his greatest win over Mark Levine in the championship match of 1976. Ruben moved from handball to racquetball, where he became a dominant champion for many years.
Beyond these four men it becomes difficult for me to evaluate speed among other players. (Maybe Albert, or another observer of one-wall, can do it better.)
Again going back to the ‘60s, I witnessed Moey Orenstein during doubles matches hurl his rotund yet muscular body to the concrete or literally dive over opponents to return shots that seemed ”buried.” Perhaps this qualifies him as extremely fast.
During the ‘80s surely Albert Apuzzi outran most of his opposition. But the majority of those men were past their prime like aforementioned Eisenberg, Torres, even myself. In singles, despite his great speed, Albert did not experience much success against Durso. In my mind, Sandler, perhaps, because of the part of the wall to which he could return the ball, would have achieved greater success with only his running game against Joe. After all he did it against Davidoff, Eisenberg and Oscar!
Among the current generation of top one-wallers, many seem very fast: Jagnandan, Kaplan, especially Sala, and now, surely Bastidas. But several years ago I witnessed Rookie Wright with heart, guts, and speed, bring Satish, a more talented and super player, to three games.
In one spectacular rally, the greatest I have ever seen, Satish blasted a kill. Rookie dove for it for an incredible return. Satish tapped it over his head. Rookie ran to the long line to bring the ball back to the wall. Satish rocketed another kill. Rookie, again on the ground near the wall, retrieved. Satish one more time, tapped it over Rookie’s head, inches from the long line. Though it reads like exaggerated myth, it is a fact! Rookie bounded to his feet and retreated to the long line one more time. Outrunning the ball he returned again. This time Satish rolled it into the floor. Talk about frustration! I am exhausted writing about the rally, probably the singles greatest display of speed I have ever observed.
Wright is yet another who exists in the world of one-wall mainly on speed. His swing, more appropriate for big blue, is nearly stiffed armed, with almost no wrist-elbow snap. It renders his small ball serve nearly ineffective as a point-maker, and forces him to out-volley opponents. Tall and rangy, Rookie takes long strides which enable him to catch up with what for most is irretrievable.
If offensive power and kills are the irresistible force of one-wall handball, and defensive retrieving through speed the immovable object, it is my opinion, that, in this case, the irresistible force wins. The one major exception was Sandler, who I tab as the “fastest” one-waller ever only because he beat the best offensive players of his day on almost nothing but retrieving.
Handball news from your Handball Experts
February 22, 2011
Dear Handball Fan,
We hope you had a fun and safe weekend! Here is your Midweek edition of Court Shorts. Enjoy!
Above: T. Bastidas raises his hand in a sign of victory as he is introduced in front of the audience by hosts A. Mendez and W. Polanco.
One-Wall Awards Dinner
The 1st Annual Player of the Year Awards Dinner was a success on Saturday night bringing over 80 people together at the Brooklyn Queensborough Elks Lodge.
It was an excellent demonstration of camaraderie amongst the one-wall community both big and small ball. There was an exhibition with both male and female play giving an A+ performance.
There was a big crowd showing support for the 2010 Players of the Year Pee Wee Castro, Danielle Daskalakis, Tyree Bastidas, and Sandy Ng. These players were nominated and chosen by the One-Wall Committee for their excellent play of the "Perfect Game."
Above from -l: J. Santerre, R. Santerre, T. Bastidas, A. Babalola and J. Yip
Above: Jurell pounding the ball as Tyree follows it from the back.
Above: P. Williams posing with Jurell and Tyree Bastidas after their championship match.
All Sport Club where the Handball Hall of Fame tournament takes place.
The youngest handball player to win the USHA National 1-wall Open championship won the historic and oldest Hall of Fame handball tournament in America on February 27 – his third since 2009.
In just his third participation at the tournament, the 20-year-old Tyree Bastidas stunned the audience with a superb handball win, holding off his brother Jurell Bastidas.
The two young Brooklynites battled for almost two hours to capture what was considered the Battle of Brooklyn.
“My third Open title, are you kidding me?” said Tyree, who was surprised of his own record. “Wow, this is unbelievable.” unbelievable, indeed.
In another surprising development, the Canadian contingent from Quebec captured most of the Men’s Singles division in what amounted to be a Canadian take over: Raphael Santerre captured the B division, while his brother Jerome Santerre captured the C division. Dennis Gingris won the 40+ division and reached the championship match of the Men’s Doubles division. It was the first time in the history of the tournament a Canadian team has captured at least three Men’s Singles divisions in the same year.
A tentative agreement was reached with the young Canadian players so that they can come to the 2011 USHA 1-wall junior nationals in New York. Tyree, Jurell, Jerome and Raphael met each other for the first time while playing in the Hall of Fame tournament.
2009 Open Men’s Singles division – Tyree Bastidas
2010 Open Men’s Singles division – Tyree Bastidas
2011 Open Men’s Singles division – Tyree Bastidas
2011 Canadian Team:
Standing from left: Raphael Santerre, Denis Gingras and Matthew Parquet. Sitting from left: Jerome Santerre, St Vincent Amant and Lucy Gauthier.
Above: Fans relax and enjoy the games through the weekend.
Above: Tyree(green shirt) retrieves the ball as D. Gingras gets ready while Jurell (red trunks) and R. Retian (white shirt) follow the action.
Just one week after he was honored among the best teenager players in the country during 2010 and leaving his teenage years behind, Tyree teamed up with his older brother Jurell Bastidas to capture the oldest Handball Hall of Fame tournament in the country for the second time around.
With the win, team Bastidas becomes the youngest team to capture two consecutive open titles in the Handball Hall of Fame history.
Top seeded team Bastidas scored a two-game victory over No 2 team Gingras/Retian to haul in its second straight championship.
The defending state-champion team Bastidas can now set their sights on the USHA Regional Northeast tournament.
The crowd was happy to see and excellent championship match, where Canadian star Denis Gingras played inspired by his team success during the entire weekend.
Northeast handball representatives, R. Retian, B. Kennedy, P. Williams, J. Prendergast, G. Grossman, M. Seigle and others played over the weekend to help and support another successful event at Fishkill.
2009 Open Men’s Doubles division – Mike Schneider and Andy Rousseau
2010 Open Men’s Doubles division – Jurell and Tyree Bastidas
2011 Open Men’s Doubles division – Jurell and Tyree Bastidas