The Most Underrated Great Sport of Handball

One might think of handball as a easy game, a ball hitting a wall off the palm of your hand. Seems very simple. In actuality it can be more complicated then that. San Jose State handball player Daniel Guzman competed in the National Collegiate Handball Tournament and tells the journey of the most underrated sport of handball.

Handball tournaments are continually held across the country. One might think of handball as a easy game, a ball hitting a wall when in actuality it can be more complicated then that.

Now what most people don’t know is that there are numerous different kinds of handball tournaments; one wall, three wall, and four wall tournaments. It is common to find youths from the South Bay playing on one wall and three wall handball courts. Yet, many of these youth are unfamiliar with four wall handball, which is played indoors inside a racquetball court. The rules are similar to the ones in one wall and three wall, but four wall is more intense because the ball used in four wall is smaller and more durable than the typical ball used in the local parks around San Jose.

I've recently returned from the national collegiate handball tournament which was held in Springfield, Missouri. People predominantly assume, even stereotype that handball is a Chicano/a sport, a sport that originated in jail but I wanted to enlighten others on the diversity of people that competed in this most recent tournament. Both men and women played, and there were handball teams representing several areas:  Florida, Texas, Chicago, New York and even an international team that came all the way from Ireland! The baddest handball players, hands down, were the Irish. The New York cats were easily distinguishable as they would say the word “mad” to describe everything. For instance, they would say something like, “yo that was mad funny” or I’m mad hungry.” We laughed at them every time they used this slang word, but I guess its equivalent to us using the word “hella” in the Bay Area.

Team San Jose was composed of 5 individuals from various colleges in the Bay Area. While we might have been one of the smaller teams in the competition, we did very well as a team, as well as individually. We all made it past the semifinals in our division and even had one of our team members, Eric Torres, win a national title. The tournament was unforgettable! We had a lot of fun and met a lot of cool people from across the country and Ireland.

The trip to Missouri was illuminating because it helped me see that handball ain’t just a cholo/a thing. In fact, handball is an international sport that is played by all ages, genders, and ethnicities. It’s crazy to see things, such as the sport of Handball, from a different perspective in other states, as was the case in Missouri.

The handball community is growing and Team San Jose will continue to grow in numbers and in skill. Handball is not one of those appealing sports in comparison to basketball or football, you don't hear young kids growing up saying, "I want to play handball when I grow up". I believe in time they will and the sport in all its simplicity and complications. So for those youngsta’s playing handball in middle school and high school in the community, I encourage ya’ll to keep playing handball and to keep them grades up so ya’ll can play at the collegiate level. With all its simplicities and complications, one day handball is going to be that "sport".

For More Info on Team San Jose Handball click on this link

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