Don’t Call it a Comeback
“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.”
– Nelson Mandela
The week Wall Ball is proud to introduce a talented athlete who has recently returned to his favorite sport of handball, not just for recreational purposes or recognition but to make a difference! He has a strong foundation in the game’s fundamentals and is looking to elevate the NYC Open Division to a more professional standard. Congratulations to the Castle Hill Open Champions Paulie & Timbo Gonzalez and congratulations to our new Player of the Week – Yagual “Paulie” Paul!
In his own words:
I started playing in 99′. I played because it gave me a chance to hang out with my older brother because I thought everything he did was cool. It was a good way to bond with him and hand out with the older guys. I first started out playing with my brother Jay and we won the citywide B division. I then played with a few different guys like Shaheem, Oscar, Wild Man Rick, Jaime and Peewee. I don’t exactly know how many tournaments I’ve won, but my ballpark would be between 25-30 maybe even more. Back when I started the singles division was the thing so I have won a bunch of ‘B’ singles. Doubles wise, I’ve won many different titles thrown by St Albans, OOHA, ICHA, West 4th Org. including 4 NYC Citywide, 2 CPQ in Miami, a few in Philly, ST Albans A/B, and other non-sanctioned tournaments.
As I started a family I drifted away from the scene. Now that I am up for playing again and getting involved with tournaments all I see and hear are players complaining and not being heard. Also, when it comes down to money 90% of players were complaining about the lack of it. So my motto is “if you’re going to complain about something and not do anything about it then you’ve just become part of the problem.” With this tournament I came to a few other ‘A’ players and asked if they are willing to organize and run a tournament for the players, ran by the players. I don’t think I hosted the event. I couldn’t do it without the help of Carlin, Ardit, Pedro, and all the player’s cooperation. Also there aren’t many things going on for the open division and with doubles being the number 1 game in handball I just feel like the old school vibe tournaments should make a come-back. When I mean old school, I mean the top pro division getting into a tough tournament to prove they are the best without worrying about how much money gets taken out the pot or any other nonsense that I’ve seen and have heard that goes on in today’s events. I was absolutely amazed with the turn out. As a player and a competitor nothing was more exciting than seeing the older guys get into games with the new school. As for the results I’m happy not only because I won with Timbo, but because the best team of the day won in nail-biting fashion and there was no question about foolery and mischief with any aspect of the tournament. When the guys got together I had a vision to bring back tournaments where other players and spectators can be able to watch the best of the best play. Those who are willing to put everything on the court regardless of rank. We are planning the next tournament soon (end of the month) and as many as we can throw throughout the year. I just want the ‘A’ Division to come back and have the credit that all the open players deserve. I don’t know if I’d do anything different than what I did today. We ran a stern tournament and unfortunately made an example of what happens when one player gets out of control. But, it’s a small message that will go a long way when others feel like they can disrespect other players or the game itself.
Lastly, I’m just glad to be a part of something that has potential to be out of this world. I will never claim to be the best at any aspect of the game but I can say this; I have made a mark. My stats can prove just how good I was and as long as I have the competitive instinct I will always strive to be the best or at least in the bests’ company.
Castle Hill Open Doubles Champions
Timothy Gonzalez & Yagual Paul
2nd Place Finalists
Carlin “The Gorilla” Rosa & Cisco “The Wolf” Aponte
Players & Spectators