HomeWhat's NewSite MapAbout Us
Handball introduction
The GamesNewsPhotosStoriesDiscussionYouth ProgramsLinksThe Streetplay Store

Click for full size picture

The Field
Vertical Space

The Games
Stickball (against wall)
Ace King Queen
Off the Wall

Stickball in the Sticks

Talking Wallball

Your Stickball Stories

Streetplay Discussion

Back to Handball


There's just so long that you can remain quiet about some dark secret from your past. It eats away at you, and those ancient deeds can cast a long dark shadow over the activities of today. So, after thirty years, its time for me to confess; I am not and never was a real handball player.

Don't get me wrong, we did play handball types of games. We even occasionally played handball, on a real handball court, using a spaldeen. In our neighborhood, real handball players used real handballs. Not squash balls, tennis balls, spaldeens or pinkies, but those small black spheroids nearly as hard as a rock, with a kick-ass bounce.

The guys who played handball in our neighborhood were older, tougher and had hair all over their backs. This is not meant to imply that they were Neanderthals, although one might have thought it from the grunting sounds heard during a game. But they were intense, and after a session on the court, they'd be breathing hard and dripping wet in sweat.

Some guys taped the two middle fingers of their hands together and wore leather half gloves to cover their palms, but these gloves offered minimal protection. Veterans had tough callused hands, beginners had to persevere. My cousin Jody recounted that he couldn't shake anyone's hand for the first month after picking up the game, because his were so swollen from the "bone bruises." And it wasn't only the hands. You were guaranteed to get hit by the ball several times a game, each shot leaving its own special mark. Head shots were particularly memorable, but after getting smacked by the ball a couple of times on either the nose, eye or crotch, players learned to remain facing forward, no matter how bad it sounded from behind.

Matches were usually played for money, and there were guys in our neighborhood who were said to live off their handball income. Ten and twenty dollar games were common, and I've heard of games where the stakes went into the hundreds.

Handball's rules are pretty simple. Standing on the side the court (left or right) and beyond the short-line, a player serves by bouncing the ball and then in an underhand/sidearm motion, smacking it against the wall. He then moves into the court, where his opponent is hitting the ball against the wall in return. Balls have to be hit after one bounce or "on the fly." If the server wins the volley, he/she geta a point. If the server fails to return a shot or hits it out of bounds, the opponent gets the serve. You can hit the ball with and open palm or fist. Singles games are fast, Doubles (two per side) are faster.

E-Mail MicknPez