On August 4, 2018, Tom and Julia Serrato hosted the Southern California Handball Association Hall of Fame Dinner and Induction Ceremony.
Over 150 friends and family members where present to honor John Bike Jr., Jesus Pasos, Marcos Chavez and Kenny Eng.
The evening was emceed by Master of Ceremonies Matt DeWeese and each inductee was introduced with a heartfelt speech from a friend of their choice. Rob Nichols spoke for Kenny Eng, Roy Harvey for Jesus Pasos, Sean Lenning for Marcos Chavez and Chris Watkins for John Bike Jr. Friends and family for each were present and many added words of appreciation.
All of the honorees expressed gratitude for being selected, and a few tears were shed during the acceptance speeches.
The 2017 edition of the SCHA Hall of Fame Induction Dinner was held August 19th at the beautiful Tom and Julia Serrato compound in the friendly confines of Covina Hills.
A good time was had by all largely due to the wonderful hospitality of our congenial hosts. Tuxedo clad Master of Ceremonies Matt DeWeese kicked off the evening by introducing the current SCHA Board as well as the current HOF members in attendance.
First up was Chris Watkins receiving his Grand Master sweater presented by El Gato, Naty Alvarado. The inductions followed with Tom Martinez brought up by Marc Penick, Roy Harvey brought up by Mark Zamora and finally El Tigre, Naty Alvarado Jr. brought up by Chris Watkins and Naty Sr.
The attendees all participated in an evening long raffle with charitable donations from Taylor Made Golf, Los Cab, Bianchi Wines, Simple Green, Mark Zamora Gloves, and a BBQ package from Tom Serrato.
Who knew that handball players could dance? In a new twist this year, we had a DJ spinning discs all night long with dancing into the wee hours.
The 2016 Southern California Handball Association (SCHA) Hall of Fame Banquet was held at Empire Room of the historic Los Angeles Athletic Club (LAAC) September 10, 2016.
Los Caballeros players Matt DeWeese and Larry Fisher, who is also the SCHA President, emceed the event. Other notable figures in the handball community, including former SCHA President, Gary Cruz, spoke to their personal friendships and memories of the inductees.
The 70 or so attendees were a mixture of handball players - some of which were former SCHA Hall of Fame inductees and family members, on hand to celebrate the 2016 induction of Stephanie Peterson Hathaway, Ron Cole and David Chapman.
Among a series of firsts, Stephanie Hathaway Peterson was the first person to receive showers of praise that evening. It was noted by pro handball player and 40+ senior tour standout, Marcos Chavez, that Stephanie played a significant, and oftentimes, motherly role to many up and coming handball players, especially himself and his younger brother Carlos. Next, John Blair, whom many in the room knew (though this writer did not), shared how eager Stephanie was to improve and learn the game from an early stage. He mentioned her national titles and the fact that there not very many women to play so in playing men, her game shot up quickly. It should be noted that Stephanie now also holds the distinction of being the first woman to enter the SCHA Hall of Fame. The celebration (and sometimes, roast) featured heartfelt testimonials, humorous recollections and stories of heated rivalries, as well as a veritable laundry list of accomplishments and championships.
Next up was Gary Rohrer and Rick Christian who spoke on behalf of inductee, Ron Cole. Rick Christian's introduction of Ron Cole was particularly emotional vividly illustrated a 40+ year friendship that went beyond the courts. However, on the court, this partnership yielded many victories and titles in clubs and tournaments around the country and the world. Mr. Christian also expressed that Ron Cole found much success on the court no matter who he partnered with.
Although dinner had already been served, the ham had not yet been presented to the room. That honor was left for Dave Vincent, Executive Director of the World Players of Handball (WPH), or was that Who Plays Handball? or We Play Handball? Larry Fisher, who stood at the podium to introduce DV, appeared to have a (planned) senior moment, which half the room could probably relate to. In all (un)seriousness, there seemed to be a few jabs between the two handball promoters as DV lovingly accused Fisher of plagiarizing his speech during his prior visits to the podium.
As for the roast, er, praising of the accomplishments of the last inductee, David Chapman, the introduction was as colorful as one could imagine, if you know DC that is. In a prepared speech, DV went on a several-minutes-long laundry list of accomplishments of a young DC, while he was a resident of Southern California. He had won singles national titles, doubles national titles, a world handball title and a #1 pro ranking, all before he had graduated high school! DC, of course, went on to even greater accomplishments by winning a total of nine national pro United States Handball Association singles titles and numerous other indoor and outdoor singles and doubles national and world titles, during the span of his career.
DV recounted many of DC's major victories, as well as numerous retirements. DV then went on to read quotes from some of DCs rivals including John Bike Jr., Naty Alvarado Jr., Tony Healy and current national and world number one player, Paul Brady. All had respect for DC's cerebral game and applauded not only his accomplishments but also for the fact that he brought out their very best in every encounter.
Back in the 90s and early 00s, DC was nearly unstoppable and was a true throwback to the sport. While most of his adversaries were ground and pound shooters, DC brought back percentage handball with a defensive game that was nearly flawless. It was DCâ€™s uncanny anticipation and court savvy that allowed him to negate the power that was often thrown at him in attempts to overpower and overwhelm. This stratagem yielded DC many junior and pro national and world titles in four-wall, three-wall, indoor and outdoor, small ball handball. DV ended with the most recent state of DC's career, the give back stage, and went on to mention the many ways in which DC has given back to the sport.
And then it happened. David Chapman took to the podium. True to form, the confidence that had served DC so much over his storied career, manifested itself during the acceptance speech. DC thanked everyone for coming out, particularly the many that were staying up "past their bed times," on this special evening, which he described as one of the "the longest nights of my life." After quickly re-roasting, er, acknowledging the evening's previous inductees and speakers, DC spoke to the one question that he is asked most often, "What was your greatest win?"
The answer? The 2003 Pro Handball Showdown. And it went a something like this.
The 2003 pro showdown first recorded match with the largest paycheck in handball history for a single match, $5,000, on the line, at the Royal Athletic Club in Burlingame, CA. As DC recounts, Ben Thum was primarily responsible for putting the event together to the tune of about $150,000. Ben Thum (looking fly for a white guy with his blue blockers in a video segment insert), Rick Christian and actor, Ed O'Neill, who unbeknownst to many people was also a handball player, provided the match commentary.
DC lost the first game by the score of 21-10. Ben Thum, unbeknownst to DC, talked to DC's father and said "What the F**k is going on?"
DC said he was 17 and was up late the night before doing some heavy hand holding with his girlfriend. His dad asked why he would do such a thing with this match coming up and that served to motivate DC to win the second game by a similar score.
Up to this point DC had never been victorious against Bike and was in the match tied at one game each, going toe to toe in the tiebreaker. The pivotal point came with Bike in the service box up 10-9 in the 11-point tiebreaker (writer's note: the score was actually tied at 10 with John serving for the match).
"I'd played him 25 times and never beat him. We go into tie breaker and go back and forth just like previous matches. The tide turned with John at 10-9 in the service box and i take the shot from deep court and most know I'm not a shooter from deep court. I kill it to regain serve and I score two points and beat him for the first time in my life."
The drama of the tiebreaker salvaged this first televised match and you can view it here to see for yourself. It served as an excellent precursor to todays webcast matches broadcast by the WPH. Ultimately, DC thanked everyone who attended, particularly his childhood friends from Long Beach and his dad, Fred Chapman.
The hashtag of the evening was most definitely #HeavyHandHolding. Ya had to be there. Drop mic.
Matt DeWeese in his customary tuxedo did a great job emceeing the event with only mildly off-color jokes.
Tom and dad Mike Serrato were inducted by Jack Scott and Naty Alvarado, respectively, as contributors. Far West Meats has been generously providing handball with great food for over 40 years.
Steve Housman was inducted as a player by Mike Kogan, Ira Goldberg and Bob Housman for his numerous wins in the Master Divisions. Steve attributed his success to going to a lot of obscure tournaments. Tati Silveyra was also inducted as a player by Paul Godina and Tony Huante. As most of us know, Tati was one of the best and he was very thankful to Tony for his handball beginnings. Tony also presented Tati with his first National trophy that Tati had given Tony years earlier.
Rick began playing handball in the 1960 and continues to compete today. Creating handball clubs, ladders and teaching handball (27 years @ Hale Middle School) to young people has been Rick passion over the last 30+ years. Rick has been active in the SCHA over 25 years, serving as youth board director, administrator of SCHA Valley League, and running numerous singles and doubles tournaments at The Spectrum in Canoga Park. Rick was instrumental in beginning the 3Wall Jr. State Tournament @ Venice Beach which later became the 3Wall Junior Nationals. Although inducted as a contributor, Rich has averaged 6-8 tournaments as a player over the last 30 years. Wearing his signature suspenders, Rick has won many B & C tournaments over his career and recently placed 2nd in 65 Doubles in Las Vegas. Rick, the SCHA is proud to have you as a member of our Hall Of Fame.
The SCHA asked Mark for his handball tournament wins – he said just use National titles (most handball players would like to have any title) and his list is more than impressive. Next time you see Mark play, enjoy his game, you willl be watching a Southern California legend.
Not only does Mark have exceptional skills as a player, he spends numerous hours mentoring and tutoring young players on indoor, 3Wall, and big ball courts. Wherever you see him around a handball court, he is bigger than life. Thank you Mark for contributing to the Southern California scene.
On Saturday night May 15, Kelly Russell and Mike Bock were inducted into the So. Cal Handball Association Hall of Fame. 90 people, including families and friends of the inductees attended the event held at The Los Angeles Athletic Club.
Tom Fitzwater flew in from Northern California to speak on behalf of Mike Bock--as his right side partner and good friend. Mike spoke of his long history with handball, starting in Chicago as a teenager, then coming to Long Beach to continue his career as one of the premier left side players in the country.
Kelly Russell had numerous friends speak on his behalf. Sybelle Hulick told of Kelly's personal support for Jack during his illness. Jim Tamagni related several stories about Kelly's history as a playboy as well as an athlete. Don Chamberlain and Skip Mc Dowell emphasized Kelly's incredible skills as one of the greatest right-side players of all time. Kelly spoke about his feelings about his numerous partners, his love of the game, and especially his father, Earl Russell--who played such a huge role in Kelly's life.
Jim Barnett was also honored and given his Grand Master for winning ten USHA National Tournaments. mike kogan
The Los Angeles Athletic Club was packed with 120 friends of handball attending the ceremony After Rick Herrera presented LAAC with their award for winning league, and a brief announcement of the upcoming competition with NorCal handball the entire room sang "Happy Birthday" to Wafe Risner who turned 97 on Friday, April 16, it was then time for Skip McDowell and Stuffy Singer to introduced the hall of famers in attendance. After that Mike Kogan had some words about 2008 Inductee Jack Hulick. That was followed by Jerry Goldstein, who inducted Mike Kogan. Joey Moya then inducted Danny Carrillo. Highlights from the evening included:
Thank you to the entire staff and management at The Los Angeles Athletic Club for a job well done
Skip McDowell was the emcee for the inductions. Speaking on behalf of Jim Triplett was Jerry Conine. Naty Alvarado inducted Bruce FaBrizio.
Jim Triplett was honored as player when as both McDowell and Conine noted the Riverside league team was tough to beat. Bruce FaBrizio's commitments to promote handball were chronicaled beginning with his support of the USHA Juniors in the eighties which led to support for numerous local events and national events held locally, and ultimately to sponsorship of the Pro Tour and now the Simple Green Open with the highest amount of prize money of any handball tournament.
In his acceptance speech Jim noted that he was brought up by his father that "Winners never quit, and quiters never win" but that today what he charises the most are the friendships that were made. In Bruce's acceptance speech he told of the days he spent playing rugby, running track and playing football. Though signed by the Chicago Bears to replace Dick Butka, Bruce never achieved that level of success however he said that "...perhaps if the had taken up handball at the age of twelve he would have been more successful in his pursuit of a career in football!" Bruce noted that handball is the toughest game to play and that the skills developed by playing handball would make anyone a better athlete.
The SCHA recently inducted two of its finest to the SCHA Hall of Fame. The dinner event was held at the prestigious Los Angeles Athletic Club and was attended by 100 handball friends and family.
Gary Cruz was inducted as a Contributor... but as far as this writer is concerned he should be bronzed and worshiped by all. Gary has done so much for handball... not just in Southern Ca. He has also been the "Player Development Coordinator" for the USHA and a USHA board member for the last 8 years. In addition to be inducted to the Hall of Fame that evening he was also honored by the LAAC for his great contributions and given an honorary membership to the Los Angles Athletic Club.
Jerry Conine, besides being one of the biggest studs in handball, was one of the greatest handball players Southern California has ever produced. Back in the 1970 and 1980's he was one of the top elite player in a decade of elite players. As part of the Championship Riverside Handball League team Jerry was a dominant player and had a reputation as "The player" to beat.
He was also inducting into the Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2006. A truly versatile athlete.
Jim Ryan (left) and Jim VandenBos (right) were inducted into the Southern California Hall of Fame on Saturday, April 22, 2006 at The Los Angeles Athletic Club. Both of these players excelled during the 80's.
Skip McDowell, Bill Cimarusti and Randy Budihas spoke to Jim Ryan's accomplishments and Stuffy Singer and Jim Barnett addressed the career of Jim VandenBos.
Both players crossed paths many times at the Long Beach Athletic Club when that club housed some of the top players in the country.
Jim Ryan had some victories over some of the legends of handball. Jim VandeBos established an incredible string of victories at the South End Rowing Club in San Francisco when that tournament fielded a powerhouse of talent. The Los Angeles Athletic Club was also honored as the SCHA Club of the Year for their long time support of handball in Southern California.
The Los Angeles Athletic Club was filled with almost 100 people to honor three of Southern Californians finest on Sunday, April 17, 2005. Skip McDowell and Stuffy Singer emceed the evening that featured some outstanding video clips, great photos and stories from the golden age of handball.
Isadore "Izzy" Mankofsky, a renowned Hollywood cinematographer, can add a SCHA Hall of Fame statue to the multiple Academy Awards that sit on his mantle. Izzy was the first to bring handball to the wide screen. He brought two of his works (Jimmy Jacobs, the Legend, and the USHA Championship held at LAAC) to the club for viewing. While Izzy commented on the difficulty of shooting handball he also expressed how much he loved to play and how much he was in awe of the top players he was filming. His contributions also included submission to the USHA of multiple still shots that he has compiled in a photo album that was also available for viewing.
Testimonials and stories about the exploits of Tom McKnight were detailed by friends Arnie Aguilar and Wafe Risner. Both not only spoke of Tom as a player, where he dominated local handball in his age class during the 1990's and with a variety of doubles partners on the national level, but also about the friendships all have had with Tom over the years. Flanked by friends and family, Tom's acceptance speech was a heartwarming recollection of friendship.
More video clips were supplied by Dennis Haynes. The 1988 Open Doubles Championship that Dennis and Doug Glatt won over Dave and Randy Morones and the 1989 Open Doubles that Dennis and Randy Morones lost to Doug and Rod Prince were excellent examples of Dennis's unbridled play. Long hair flowing, big mustache, diving on to the floor and into the walls was classic Haynes. Tom Gilbert spoke of the days on the local handball scene and with Equitable Insurance where Dick Pohlmann assembled an all-star insurance/handball team. Jaime Paredes spoke of the years that Dennis and he locked horn until they teamed up to dominate local handball competition. On the national level the road to the finals was through the formidable Naty Alvarado and Vern Roberts but Jaime and Dennis had their share of victories including a World title in the 1980. Dennis told of how serious he took the game and how competitive he was. He also spoke of the many friendships and family support he has received. Dennis called his baseball coach at Pacifica High School to thank him for introducing him to handball. Dennis was the classic example of being introduced to the game for cross-training purposes then when exposed to 4W handball by a player (Johnny Sloan) the game became a part of his life.
Emcees Stuffy Singer and Skip McDowell orchestrated the evening. There were 100 in attendance to hear Stuffy and Duke Llwellyn honor Winnie McCoy as an "Ambassador" for her service at LAAC and as a friend of handball. Jaime Paredes and Dennis Berger detailed Tom' Gilbert's days running tournaments. Jim Barnett and Joe Harris chronicled Bob Harris achievements both as a player and as founder of the Royal Flush tournaments in Las Vegas.
Stuffy Singer and Don Chamberlin inducted Jaime Paredes into the "Hall of Fame". Mike Kogan presented Director Ryan Nekota and Glendale ambassador Al Villalobos with "Club of the Year" honors for The Glendale YMCA
Rick Christian was inducted as a Player and and Wafe Risner Ambassador of Handball
HOF members Doug Glatt, Dave Morones, Don Duarte.
Three players were inducted into the SCHA Handball Hall of Fame: Jim Barnett, Lew Morales, Chuck Schildmeyer
Four players were inducted into the SCHA Handball Hall of Fame: Morrie Singer, John Blair, Ted Topoleski and Matt Kelly.
In 1997, eleven players and contributors were inducted into the SCHA Handball Hall of Fame.
Larry August gave a moving recollection of he and his brother, Steve August, playing handball in the 60's under the tutelage of their father. Byron Ishkanian thanked Dell Mora for representing the community of Santa Barbara so well on both local and national levels. The presentation for Stuffy Singer was handled eloquently his teacher, Pete Tyson. Skip McDowell was inducted by Jim Ryan who had teamed with Skip to win many national titles. Stuffy accepted on behalf of Jimmy Jacobs.Tom Rohrback has won nine National USHA Masters titles leaving him just one short of induction into the National Grand Masters Hall of Fame.
The SCHA Board of Directors brought the Hall of Fame Banquet to the Los Angeles Athletic Club. Three players were inducted into the SCHA Handball Hall of Fame: Tom Fitzwater, Ben Glenner and Jerry Goldstein.Members of the SCHA Handball Hall of Fame