Submitted by Roberto Chavez
It was a cold, windy and rainy day on December 12, 2009. I arrived at the Central YMCA at 9 a.m., and the first person I saw was Ms. Gabby. Her smiling eyes opened wide with joy as I approached. That’s how the entire day went. For those of you who did not read the Handball Times, the Central YMCA sponsored the 1st Annual Junior/Senior Doubles Tournament.
We had 32 players, making for 16 teams. Every division: A, B, and C had a dropdown and everyone played two rounds. As the Tournament Director, I anxiously waited for the players to arrive and as I walked down the hall to the courts I had a sigh of relief. There were five players talking among themselves, two playing on court one, another four in court two and so on in all the courts. These players are members of Team San Jose. Can you imagine that these kids are playing one hour before the tournament begins? At that moment I could see these kids are all connected to one another by playing The Perfect Game.
Of course, we had cancellations and no shows. It’s not who do you call, but who’s on the floor and do you have your gear and want to play? Thanks to fathers, who too have been bitten by the handball bug and an overflow of juniors wanting to play, along with Y members, the tournament was ready to begin.
It may have been blowing and storming outside, but inside the YMCA Handball Courts there was nothing but handball action in all divisions. Those of you who know me, know how I can get excited and intense about handball. Let me tell you the energy was bouncing off the walls and the playing levels of these kids just exploded. I could see that the Youth Handball Program at the Y was paying off. You had to be here to feel the energy and see the level of play. I get excited thinking and telling about what happened.
In the C Division, Michael Rodriguez and his partner, 9-year-old Briant Mendiola, lost in thefinal to Bob Kass and Able Lozano. Mr. Raul Muniz, a school principal, and his Monroe Middle School partner Adrian Jimenez won the C drop down over Ron and Frankie Strasbaugh, who celebrated his birthday with us.
In the B final, Alfonso Rosas and William Rodriguez from Peter Burnett Middle School defeated Angel Juarez and George Mendiola from Lincoln High School. In the B drop down, Rene Collado and Dennis Macias from Lincoln High School defeated Muaricio Jimenez and Isreal Ramirez from Downtown College Prep.
In the A final, Miguel Negrete and Julio Garcia from Willow Glen High School defeated Muaricio Lopez and Loren Collado from Saint Frances in a tiebreaker. In the A drop down, Mike Linnik and Daniel Perez from Andrew Hill High School defeated Tom Fitzwater and Issac Garcia from Downtown College Prep in another tiebreaker, 11-10.
Since the inception of the Youth Handball Program at the YMCA, there has been an explosion of ball players from all parts of the city. This event showed that adult role models who play The Perfect Game can motivate and draw the best out of kids. Thanks for making this a special day. All played beyond their expectations. It was competitive and full of positive energy. And that’s how the entire day went!