Successful weekend events result in hundreds of students playing handball

March 03, 2009, 6:39 p.m. (ET)
Collegiate intramural athletes in Florida and elementary school-aged students in Texas alike participated in handball events around the United States this weekend.

In Orlando, Florida, 210 students participated in the second-annual one-day Team Handball Tournament at University of Central Florida. The competition took place on the courts at UCF’s Recreation and Wellness facility. Dominique Dumont, Southeast Regional Director, reports that the university’s intramural coordinators and athletes were extremely receptive and welcoming. Many of the students, experiencing handball for the first time, were eager to ask questions and get on the court to play. Dumont briefly detailed the sport through demonstration with Florida handball veterans Jim Thome, Sean Craft, Mostafa Sallam and Wessam Rizk.

“We were approached all day with questions and demonstrations of interest. It was great to see such enthusiasm; everyone who got off the court was happy and wanted to get back in the game,” said Dumont. “The crowd stood by cheering on their friends, or booing and hissing their rival fraternities. It was great fun to see the passion. UCF is full of athletic talent.”

After the success of the day’s events, Dumont anticipates building USATH’s relationship with university.

Across the country at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, students gathered for BYU Cougar’s first practice despite an adversarial basketball game on campus at the same time. BYU’s team handball club is coached by Marko Brezic. More players are expected to attend next week, including members of BYU’s nationally-ranked volleyball and soccer programs.

In Houston, Texas, also on Saturday, Southwest Regional Coach Boban Zivovic, along with Houston Firehawks athletes and coach Oscar Grisales, conducted USATH’s first Play Today event.

“Play Today was absolutely a success,” said Zivovic. “It was such a pleasure to see the little ones having fun playing team handball. After a full game, our junior players asked when we are going to play again.”

ZIvovic found many interested players, ranging from six years old to adults, and looks forward to the possibility of a southwest U18 team.