|Al Goldstein (far left) with Max Davidoff and Moe Orenstein circa 1954.|
Al "the Teacher" Goldstein, Brooklyn, N.Y.
One-Wall Loses Its Teacher
One-wall handball has lost one of its strong competitors of the ‘50s and ‘60s, Al Goldstein, affectionately known as “the Teacher.”
Al graduated college as a physical education major, but he didn’t teach the subject long. Early on in his career he was promoted to assistant-principal, eventually completing his career as a long-standing principal in a Brooklyn elementary school. An intelligent and gentle soul, the Teacher was a fierce handball player possessed of great speed, power, and a hopping, skidding serve which provided no end of trouble for his opponents. When Brooklyn’s Brighton Beach Baths ran its weekly sweeps for the best one-wall doubles players in the city, the Teacher was frequently invited along with Hall of Famers Vic Hershkowitz, Moey Orenstein, and, later on the three Obert brothers among others. Al was good enough to play among those all-time greats.
Although he never won an open title in either singles or doubles, he championed 4 times in masters doubles: AAU – 1962, and ’69, USHA – 1965 and ’69. Before becoming a top handball player, Al was a strong enough basketball player in college to obtain membership in City College of New York’s Basketball Hall of Fame. And after retiring from handball, he became a runner, always finishing the NYC Marathon even when well into his 80s. In 2015 he was chosen to be a member of the NY Handball Hall of Fame.
Those who knew him admired both his athleticism and his human decency. He passed while nearing his 98th birthday. And only until last year did he stop attending the National One-Wall Championships held in Coney Island.
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