Honoring our community (S)HEros and remembering Yadira Arroyo

This year we kick off the new 2017 outdoor season by honoring two wallball (handball) athletes that not only display their love and commitment for sport, but also risk their lives doing the same for their community.  Join us in celebrating these hometown (S)HEros as they expose you to the rewarding and dark side of their profession as Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) and the many reasons why playing wallball helps them cope with a demanding job and a full life. They also remember and honor one of their own, Yadira Arroyo, whose life ended abruptly during the call of duty. THANK YOU for your service and congratulations to our new Players of the Week – Christine Li & Carmen “Suly” Ruiz.

Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) provide out of hospital emergency medical care and transportation for critical and emergent patients. They care for the sick, injured and at times respond to life and/or death situations where lives often depend on the quick reaction and competent care provided by these highly skilled and trained workers. Both Suly and Christine can attest to the long hours and traumatic scenarios which at times can leave them feeling pretty drained, but you’d never know it unless you were digging for the depths of their experiences in this profession. On the surface these ladies both have a contagious smile and “bubbly” personality which feels welcoming and upbeat. It’s no wonder that combined they have over 20 years on the job and still proudly wear the uniform of an FDNY EMT.

According to Christine, “a day at the job can go in many directions; you see the good and you see the bad. We are there when people are at their most vulnerable and scariest moments in their lives so we put on our game face and do what we do best, be there for them, comfort them and save lives.” When thinking about Yadira, Christine hears her laugh and the conversations her and Yadira shared. “Her laugh got me through the day. She was such a great example. She never showed any fear or frustration and always had a smile on her face. One of the last conversations we had was about her going on her next cruise.”

Christine & Suly pay tribute to fallen EMT Yadira Arroyo whose badge number was 2017.

In Celebration of Yadira Arroyo

Suly chooses to remember Yadira by putting on her uniform and doing what she does every day. For her, the job of an EMT is more meaningful than most day jobs. “When I have someone really sick or almost dying and we bring them back to life we give them some kind of hope, they give me a hug and they thank me. It’s like I gave them a second chance at life and that makes it all worth it.”

When Christine was in junior high, like many wallball competitors, she realized very early her love for the game, while Suly followed her brother to the courts eventually becoming addicted to the feeling of the rubber ball and the presence of the wall. “I’ve made many friends and traveled across the US to play in wallball tournaments. I love the community and to a certain extent it helps to relieve stress and get in a healthy dose of exercise.” Even though their days consist of long hours of work and sleepless nights, they still find time for the New York City sport that has provided them an escape from reality and a community of people who recognize them for their sacrifices as a real hometown (S)HEro!


Join us on Saturday, April 29th for our season opener in the Bronx as we host our first FDNY Wallball Tournament in honor of Suly & Christine and celebrating the life of Yadira Arroyo. This event is FREE and Open to the Public on a first come, first served basis and is sponsored by Bronx Councilman Rafael Salamanca Jr.

19 and under junior event / male doubles & female doubles

Open Mixed Doubles *total capacity 250 participants

Registration opens tonight, April 10th at 8pm. Free entry, free FDNY t-shirts & trophies while supplies last! You MUST be a member of USWA. Membership is FREE. CLICK HERE for complete details.