TUCSON -- Handball is often defined as a fraternity of players, a tight-knit population. When we lose someone, the effect ripples through the community, whether we played regular matches with that person, watched them at tournaments or were intertwined through the many tournaments and leagues across the country. When there's a loss, the community comes together. Players, fans and friends turned the Tucson Racquet Club into a three-day handball gala, remembering and honoring those who passed while the top players battled it out in the WPH R48Pro VII Stop #2.
Setting the table for Sunday’s action, Samzon Hernandez (Los Angeles) defeated Timbo Gonzalez (New York) 15-14, 15-9 in a thrilling Big Ball 4 Wall Singles final. It was a classic battle between the top-two big ball stars from opposite coasts. After trailing for much of the match, Hernandez caught Gonzalez at 13-13 and was able to take away the first game. In the second, Gonzalez never fully recovered from a 6-0 deficit and played catch-up the rest of the way until Hernandez sealed match point.
In the Women’s R48Pro final, Martina McMahon (Limerick, Ireland) won her first WPH event defeating Catriona Casey (Ballydesmond, Ireland), 14-16, 15-9, 15-3. With a commanding serve and showing amazing two-handed power and versatility, the Southpaw McMahon held game point in the first game at 14-11 only to see Casey claw back to win by two. Although she fell behind 6-1 in the second game, McMahon’s resolve didn’t waiver as she continued her brilliant play to outscore Casey 14-3 to force the tiebreaker. McMahon’s momentum continued to roll in the tiebreaker as she won handily by a 12-point margin.
“To beat [Casey] in 40X20 is something special.” McMahon said during the trophy presentation. “She shouldn’t have gotten that first game and she did, but that’s Catriona, she fights to the end. She went up 6-1 in the second. I usually I lose the head, but I’ve been trying working on that. I have the hands and just need to work on the thoughts in my head.” McMahon credited her brother, coach and mother for support and helping her reach the next level of mental toughness.
Immediately following that barn-burner was the highly anticipated R48Pro final between Robbie McCarthy (Westmeath, Ireland) and current two-time USHA champion Killian Carroll (Boston). McCarthy started the match with the hot hand and in control, leading 5-0 before Carroll could counter. But once Carroll got onto the scoreboard, he didn’t look back, showing off tremendous athleticism, out-hustling, out-shooting and outscoring McCarthy 30-5 to claim his second R48Pro final victory of the young season winning 15-9 and 15-1.
“Robbie doesn’t come to the pro tour very often, and he’s number one in Ireland right now. To show that I can, not just play American players, but play Irish players, too.” Said Carroll. “It’s a very important win for me.”
As a qualifier, McCarthy played a few extra matches leading up to the round of 16, and against Sean Lenning (Tucson) in the semifinal, he was looking up at match point at a 14-1 deficit. Showing intense grit and desire, McCarthy made the remarkable comeback, winning 5-15, 16-14 and 15-4 to reach the final.
To wrap up the Tucson Memorial, Braulio Ruiz and Timbo Gonzalez won the Men’s Big Ball Doubles, defeating Alfredo Morales and Esteban Erazo.
The Tucson Memorial completed an unbelievable weekend of handball. Congratulations to the WPH for hosting a tremendous event and bringing live handball to the airwaves at ESPN 3 and the WatchESPN App.
Watch the replay HERE (Click on the "Schdule & Replays" tab, choose "Replay," then choose "Handball" under the "All Sports" drop-down button. Check with your provider to see if you have access to WatchESPN).
See the final results on the tournament R2sports page HERE.
TUCSON -- Scott Cleveland and Kara Mack talk about the names added to the Memorial Trophy this year during the Saturday evening memorial service. Ben Manning (WPH Film Crew) and David Chapman (nine-time USHA National Four-Wall Singles Champion).
On the court, Robbie McCarthy rallied from a 14-1 deficit in the second after losing the first to Sean Lenning to advance to Sunday's final against Killian Carroll. Catriona Casey and Martina McMahon have been on a collision course to face each other on Sunday.
In the Big Ball, it's a showdown of outdoor stars from opposite coasts and disciplines. California's three-wall star Samzon Hernandez squares off against New York's Timbo Gonzalez. Follow the results and watch the acton from the Tucson Racquet Club, live.
See the draws, times and results on the tournament R2sports page HERE.
|Chris Miranda steps into a shot in the Men's Wallball Doubles final.|
|Sean Lenning chases down a deep return in the Men's Open Singles Final.|
MAUMEE, Ohio -- Championship Sunday brought warm temps and clear skies, making the ideal conditions for all players competing on the courts at the Lucas County Rec Center. Three-Wall Great Vic Herskowitz now has company on the all-time list as Sean Lenning won his 9th Three-Wall Singles crown defeating Tyree Bastidas, 21-4, 21-6. While Bastidas showed tremendous athleticism that entertained crowds all week, he didn't have an answer to his opponent's devastating service game. Lenning continuously uncorked a lethal low driving serve to the right that seemed almost nonreturnable. The strong serve and uncanny court sense allowed Lenning to run away with big leads in each game, and a right-handed kill in the right corner sealed his ninth title. Watch the complete match on the United States Handball Association's Facebook Page HERE.
|Jurell Bastidas punches a ball to the ceiling against Sean Lenning in the semifinals.|
MAUMEE, Ohio -- For the fourth consecutive year, Sean Lenning and Tyree Bastidas will face each other in the Men's Open Singles final. Both players appeared to be pacing themselves in the matches leading up to their annual showdown, but in the semifinals, each player turned up the intensity.
Masters (40-plus): Kendall Lewis
Masters B (40-plus): Junior Bermudez
Golden B (50-plus): Tim Thompson
Veteran Golden (55-plus): Matthew Osburn
Super Masters (60-plus): Marc Penick
Diamond Masters (70-plus): Rick Graham
Veteran Diamond Masters (75-plus): Norm Young
|Dane Szatkowski shoots against Braulio Ruiz in the Men's Open Quarterfinals.|
MAUMEE, Ohio -- Tiebreakers ruled the outcome of many matches on the second day of play at the 67th USHA National Three-Wall Championships. In Men's Open singles, many fans cleared the stands thinking Dane Szatkowski's run would end in the quarterfinals to Braulio Ruiz. Losing 11-21 and down 17-13 in the second, the match appeared to be wrapping, but impossible situations are exactly where Szatkowski thrives. Fighting off match point, Szatkowski took the second game, 21-20. In the tiebreaker, Szatkowski's serve started heating up, but Ruiz delivered a flat rollout to even the score at 5-5 to force a Szatkowski time out. When play resumed, Szatkowski completed a 6-2 run, only yielding a side out and two points before acing match point. Szatkowski will meet Tyree Bastidas in Saturday's semifinal.
See results HERE.
|Ricardo Palma shoots against Dan Valera in the Men's A Singles.
MAUMEE, Ohio -- The 67th USHA National Three-Wall Championships kicked off under some cloud cover on a cool Thursday at the Lucas County Rec Center. While most first-day first round contests can be mismatches,there were a few exciting 11-10 tiebreaker finishes. In Men's Open Singles action, Oregon's Cody Townsend, making his first Three-Wall Nationals appearance, held off match point from Toledo's Tyler Stevens to regain the serve and score the decisive point to earn the victory.
The Handball Family around the world mourns the passing of David Chapman. Chapman, 42, passed away suddenly in his home, Tuesday, October 10.
David Chapman was the youngest player to win a USHA National Four-Wall Open Singles Title at the age of 17 in 1993 when he defeated Randy Morones in the final. He also won the doubles that year. Chapman was a nine-time USHA Four-wall National Singles Champion, won two World Singles titles, held multiple doubles titles and was the No. 1 ranked pro handball player for nearly 10 years. Whenever there’s discussion on who was the best four-wall handball player ever, Chapman’s name is at or near the top of the list. In September, Chapman reached the final of the one-wall small ball final at the 3WALLBALL Outdoor Championships in Las Vegas.
Chapman’s death is a shock to all and our deepest sympathy goes to his family.
Read David Fink's touching tribute to David Chapman [HERE].
1993 4-Wall Nationals Men's Pro Singles Chapman vs. Morones (End of game 1 & Game 2, interviews)
Just before the days of summer may start to wane
Along comes the tradition of this venerable campaign
Set in a place with hospitality supreme
To Toledo, these warriors start to stream
It is our beloved game that they come to play
A grueling version, the 3-wall way
But before one point is played or scored
People gather to remember beyond the game that is adored
The outdoor elements and sometimes shadowy light
Adds to the atmosphere and utter delight
Before it is all said and done
These games to be played are only half the fun
Food and libations help to recount or embellish a memory
Families, friends revel in camaraderie
Perhaps a fierce rivalry will be renewed
Or new ones to begin in respect and gratitude
For each and every player, a single focus abound
By the end of the journey, he or she hopes to wear a crown
Into the hollowed trenches, the heated battle begins
The first two games to 21 wins
And should those two games not be enough
One more game, to eleven, rough and tough
From the rafters the arching ball rebounds
Often reaching beyond the natural end line a retriever pounds
Back and forth in this manner they go
These are some of the rhythms of this ebb and flow
Confining the action between the walls and the lines
The victor, in measured steps and dexterity combines
Whether ending a rally with the vaunted kill
Each point is contested with determination and will
To survive and move on is the mantra and daily goal
Remaining aloft, continue the fight in the winners fold
And should your efforts fall short of the desired top tier
Along the way, there is always encouragement, support and cheer
Perhaps in defeat, you shrug and gather your gear
Whispering deep inside, “I’ll rebound, there is always next year”
So who are these pursuers of this the perfect game
It would be Herculean in task to give you every name
So in fairness to all participants and warriors alike
This [space] is lovingly for you, Tom, Dick, Harry and Mike
When we think of these championships and the allure
There are legacies and dynasties that endure
The generations of men and women return each year to play
For the enjoyment of the game and to perhaps light the way
Many brothers team and this is great to see
Like Dane and Adam Szatkowski
Along with the brothers Anderson, Eric and Lee
Let’s not forget Bastidas’, Jurrell and Tyree
Munson, David and Mike, like playing brothers trust
Similarly with Lemus siblings, Marco and Carlos
To be sure there are also brothers who do not pair
But it does not mean that well, they do not fair
Zimet, Dan and Adam come to mind
Let’s not leave Dave and Larry Dohman behind
And to parent and child who also join the fray
Carrying on the traditions of our game, valiantly display
When we describe the accomplishment among the ranks
Let us applaud the double, double of The Franks
Son Nathaniel, slamming the Bs
And dad Alan, mastering with complimentary partners of last names Zs
Of course, there are also dozens more to laud
Beginning with impressive debut of Chris Persaud
And in the category among the merry
The successful pairing of Eisenbooth and Berry
By reputation, some participants are expected to win
As with Marcos Chavez and Sean Lenning
As they continue to dominate over the field
Year after year, even when pressed, they never yield
These championships, like so many are a grind
The toll they take are often visible on body and rattles the mind
We reach deep to find salve and solace, seeking to recover
Perhaps in time for next year, a solution to discover
TEMPE, Ariz. -- The USHA, through the FIRST ACE Development Program, aspires to train new handball instructors to teach the game in schools, rec centers and clubs across the nation. Through the efforts of Arizona State University Handball Coach Dan Willeford, a Handball: Teach the Teacher Clinic was held at the ASU Rec Center on Saturday, October 7. Coach Willeford organized and conducted the clinic which certified eight new instructors, five of whom are on the ASU Handball Team and working to be part of the Mardak Endowment Program.
The teaching clinic began with a "Handball Jeopardy" Q&A session in the classroom, reviewed lesson plans by LeaAnn Martin and Pete Tyson, discussed teaching strategies, and provided demonstrative drills on the court.
The goal is to have the certified instructors venture to Metro Phoenix high schools to promote handball and teach the game to new players. Many of the instructors are alumni at the schools, and as members of the college handball team at ASU, they're testimony that students can play the game and compete at the collegiate level after high school. The FIRST ACE Development Program will provide handball equipment for all the new instructors who will teach at their respective schools.
This effort at Arizona State (and at other universities around the country), is part of the Mardak Community Challenge, where communities awarded funding will be tasked to find local funding to match the Mardak awards. The Mardak funds will pay college students to teach handball and mentor younger students.
Thank you to Coach Willeford, Sun Devil Handball and the new instructors for their efforts to Grow the Perfect Game!
The following feature appears in the August 2017 Handball Magazine.
USHA Members can access the full e-Magazine issue by logging on and visiting the "Member Section."
Not a USHA Member? JOIN HERE.
By Marc Penick
Sala concentrates in his 2008 USHA 0ne-wall Singles final victory against Satish Jagnandan.
New York handball players need no introduction to Cesar Sala. He has made his name for many years as a one-wall champion, with titles in big-ball and small-ball singles and doubles.
Sala has a talent for all forms of handball, three- and four-wall included. One-wall, however, is the handball culture in New York, and Sala shares his story of developing his game in the parks and streets of NYC.
Sala’s parents, Cesar and Ana, were born and raised in Puerto Rico. After Cesar Sr. left Puerto Rico for New York, he and Ana wrote letters back and forth, and he eventually proposed through a letter. Ana packed her things and ventured to New York to marry him. They were blessed with three daughters and a son, Cesar, the youngest in the family.
Today Sala is 39, and he and his wife, Kathy, are raising daughters Kaycee, 10, and Emma, 7. They live in the Bronx, where Sala is a New York City police officer.
Sala, daughters Emma and Kaycee and wife Kathy.
How did you meet your wife?
We met at a lounge called Redemption, and it was magic from the first moment I saw her. She drew me in with her beauty and enchanted me with her demeanor. Three years later we were married. Our beautiful girls are both passionate about dancing, makeup and fashion, like their mother.
How and where did you start playing?
I’m originally from Brooklyn, where I went to Lincoln High School and Kings-borough Community College. I started playing in the early 1990s. My home courts were at Coney Island.
The same courts where the pros play that we read about in the magazine?
Yes. I have watched some of the one-wall greats, such as Albert Apuzzi, Al Torres and the infamous Joe Durso. Coney Island was filled with great players. I was drawn to the game as a teenager. The atmosphere of being by the beach and playing in the sun was great. The game is also cheap to play, but the best part is that anyone could just show up and call next to get a game.
Tell us a little about the New York handball environment.
Most places around the country, people would have to call each other to organize games. At Coney Island and most NYC courts, people just show up and find games anywhere! There are thousands of one-wall courts all over the city with people playing. Coney Island and West 4th Street were where a lot of the heavy hitters played.
Which ball is preferred today at Coney Island?
Coney Island players compete in big ball, currently the dominant one-wall game, and small ball, the more traditional form. I gravitated toward the small ball because I enjoyed that world and got involved in three- and four-wall. I remember seeing this big powerhouse lefty four-wall player with a big loopy swing come in and shock the one-wall world by making it to the national final! Little did I know he was trying to be the first in a very long time to win all three nationals in the same year. As far as I know, John Bike is the last man to be in all three finals in the same year. He made a big impression on New York handball at that time.
You’re a one-waller. Describe the difference between playing one-wall vs. three- and four-wall at the open level.
As crossover play binds the handball world, this sport will continue to climb into the realm of being a mainstream sport. Pro players from each version of our game are creating a larger spectrum of community by exchanging ideas, experiences and skill sets that pertain to their version of the sport. For me, four-wall has been the most mentally challenging with all the extra angles and options. I love playing four-wall, but it can be a bit frustrating. My limited back wall, combined with aggressiveness I learned from one-wall, have led to some frustrating moments against the top four-wall players. In 2008 Danny Bell and I played David Chapman and Emmett Peixoto in the final of the Long Island Open four-wall event. David and Emmett were able to expose my weaknesses and beat us handily.
Well, David and Emmett have done that to many very well-trained four-wall players …
Yes, I guess they probably have. They are great players.
How about three-wall?
I remember playing Vince Munoz, who was the three-wall champ at the time, when he graced the courts of Coney Island at the one-wall nationals. I was an established one-wall pro who had won a few events. I went into the game with a chip on my shoulder and was able to beat him in the first game with ease. The second game was close, and Vince made some adjustments and edged me out by a point. The tiebreaker was exciting, and I was lucky to get the win against a legendary player. My first time playing three-wall, however, was an eye-opening experience. My first-round match was none other than Vince Munoz himself! Vince cleaned my clock as I scored a mere 3 and 6. I remember feeling like I was in every volley but I wasn’t scoring. To a one-wall player, the three-wall court is extremely long. Playing four-wall doesn’t entirely prepare you for the long side walls with no back wall.
Where do you play nowadays? How often?
I’ve had a shoulder injury, but I’ve tried to keep involved as much as I can by volunteering my time to the ICHA, which has dedicated 20-plus years to our inner- city youths by having travel teams and coordinating events for youth development in NYC. Working with the community is important to me as an NYC police officer. I’m looking forward to playing again and competing at the World Police and Fire games in August.
Sala (left) with favorite partner Joe Kaplan.
Name your favorite doubles partners.
My favorite partner without question would have to be Joe Kaplan. Joe embodies everything I strive to be as a handball player and as a person. Joe and I have played together for almost 20 years and have won our share of tournaments. His consistency combined with my knack for being unpredictable have earned us some nice success. Heart, loyalty and commitment are qualities to be admired, and Joe embodies precisely that.
Any favorite tournament wins?
The first national doubles event Joe and I won was an amazing experience. We faced a familiar team of Kendell Lewis and Robert Sostre. They beat us in the final of another event earlier that year. Kendell and Joe were former partners, so there was always an extra intensity whenever we’d play him. Kendell was not only a talented handball player but also an exceptional athlete. Robert was the dominant figure in paddleball as well as a multinational handball champion. We defeated them in a hard-fought tiebreaker for the first of our four national doubles titles.
How does your family view the sport with all your accomplishments?
My three ladies have shown their support both at home and at events whenever possible. My daughters will play ball at some point, and I’d like to see them play as a doubles team. I think their personalities along with their physical attributes will make for a strong team. Kaycee is lefty, tall and slender, while Emma is shorter and a right-hander. They are both very competitive and have interest in the game. It would be nice to see them play.
How is the USHA doing, in your view?
The USHA, ICHA and SAHA have meant so much to NYC handball for decades now, and I am forever grateful for the hard work they’ve put into this great game. They’ve paved the way for current organizers and associations such as wallball and the WPH.
What do you think of the WPH?
The WPH and wallball are really taking handball to the next level in helping this great community grow. Wallball founder Jasmine Rey is seemingly everywhere shaking hands all over the world spreading the game of handball. Dave Vincent and David Fink are doing a great job with the broadcasting and handling of pro play.
What do you see as the most important thing for continuing one-wall handball? What about three- and four-wall?
In my opinion, the ball is a key to pushing the game to another level. We need a ball that’s somewhere between a small ball and a big ball that could work for all versions of the game. Perhaps a ball that has the speed and weight of a small ball along with the feel of a big ball. The big ball is too slow for the larger three- and four-wall courts. The current small ball is too fast for the smaller one-wall court. I agree the games are great as they are now, but I believe changing the ball might help the game improve as a spectator sport. In New York people are playing, hearing about and seeing more handball every day. It is only a matter of time before we reach the biggest stage, and I’m looking forward to being part of that.
Sala’s 1-wall record
2000: USHA doubles champion
2000: World singles champion
2001: USHA singles champion
2006: USHA doubles champion
2007: USHA doubles champion
2008: USHA singles champion
2011: USHA doubles champion
- 3-time Mayors Cup singles champion
- 5-time Mayors Cup/Speakers Cup doubles champion
Chatten Hayes, 2012 Carl Porter Award recipient and Über-Volunteer hostess is rocking a new look this week. And David loves it (and her)! She had major surgery in early September, and doctors found ovarian cancer. She began chemo earlier this week. The surgeon expresses the discovery like this: “We threw a brick through a plate-glass window and got all the big pieces swept up, and now we are doing some “mop-up” chemo to take care of any remaining cells.” Her cancer is the type most responsive to treatment and it didn’t spread beyond her abdomen.
Chatten wants her handball family to know she feels wonderful about “Doc G’s” sense of humor and skill and the care she’s received. She and David are so grateful for the enormous support shown by friends, family, neighbors, players, colleagues and even the mailman and regulars at the coffee bar.
Chatten has this to say:
“I am grateful for my lifetime of excellent health. This was my first time in a hospital, let alone having any surgery. We joke a lot over here, go big or go home!
As for my hair, well, I think we all know how I feel about my HAIR. It’s basically the only vanity I indulge in – I will never be on the best dressed list or drive a hot car. But … my hair. When I was told I’d lose it, I decided immediately to shave my head. And we made a party out of it. My friend Eian Petry has been keeping my locks gorgeous for more than 22 years. He opened his salon last Monday (which was also his 60th birthday) to do it. We laughed so hard my hair flew off!!!
I will continue to sport this look (while spending next to nothing for hair care – sorry, Eian) for a few months, and don’t be surprised if the Pacific Boxer team shows up in Springfield next February with a few baldies! It was discussed at a team meeting a couple of weeks ago. Solidarity, baby!
And the First Donor is: Sean Lenning – I’m a fan of you and your hairline! You are going to have a great WPH R48Pro season! So I count $50 in the kitty already. Oh, and maybe I should include David? Ok, $100.
I need to add that we are being very selective about where our information is coming from. David and I are limiting ourselves to information and anecdotes provided to us specifically about MY cancer from MY team. It’s enough to take in what’s right in front of us. We are asking everyone to curb kindly impulses to provide more for us to digest. We appreciate your understanding.
Lastly, I remind all you gals to PAY ATTENTION. You can find more information about the subtle and somewhat mysterious symptoms here: http://ovarian.org/about-ovarian-cancer/what-are-the-signs-a-symptoms
My dear friends, I love you muchly and I loved Handball from the moment David introduced me. Thank you from the bottom of my hair-er-HEART, for decades of loving me back, and I’ll see you soon.” -- Chatten
Next, the Wallball Nationals offered the richest prize money list ever and also drew over 100 contestants. There were upsets and new stars in the women’s doubles while Timothy Gonzalez reclaimed the top spots in the men’s events.
Our Small Ball Nationals, held August 3-6 are a day shorter than usual and are next on the agenda. The prize money purse will top $10,000, and the USHA Board will be in town, holding their first summer board meeting in the Big Apple. That they join us at the one-wall is historic but of even greater importance is that the Borough of Brooklyn has declared Saturday August 5th “Handball Day” and the Brooklyn President is presenting the Citation and proclamation to our USHA President, LeaAnn Martin. The men’s division expects to be among the largest fields in years, drawn by the big prize money purse. And, are there any challengers to unseat the five-time Masters Doubles champs of Figueroa and Roberts?
Finally, the USHA partners again later in the month of August with the ICHA to offer the Junior Wallball Nationals. Wallball continues to grow as the most popular one-wall game in New York and the competition should prove exciting. Additionally, we have Flushing Bank, an important local Community Bank, as our sponsor to help fund the cost of the event. So, make plans to see all of our one-wall action!
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