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The USHA Nationals 2000 were a treat for all handball entusiasts Super Doubles Finals
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Super Double Winners  Artie Reyer & Tommy Vitale
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Super Double Winners Artie Reyer & Tommy Vitale
National One-Wall Championships, Brooklyn, NY
Aug 3-6, 2000

Tommy Vitale and Artie Reyer make an unlikely pair of handball champs, but this Sunday the two were grinning about their victory in the USHA National Super Doubles.

While Tommy was familiar with the game in his youth, he did not enter a tournament until he was 55 years old. In his first appearance he reached the Nationals Golden Singles Finals and came close to taking the event. Now at 61 years old Tommy has a reputation for being a power player and a tireless opponent on the court.

Artie Reyer describes his game as being more finesse and control. Unlike Tommy, Artie is a longtime handball champion, boasting five Men's Open Doubles Championships. Artie made his first appearance in the finals when he was 29 years old back in 1963.

The interesting thing about these two players is not their different handball backgrounds but the adversity each had to overcome to get here.

At 8 year's old Artie had an operation that fused his right hip. Recently he had an operation which replaced the left. Artie has a distinct limp when walking, but it his handicap never stopped him from reaching the top level in his sport. Tommy has overcome both physical and emotional challenges. Drug and alcohol addiction had led him on the wrong side of the law and he spent much of his younger years in maximum security prisons. After he was released, Tommy became active in AA and has been able make a positive contribution to our society.

Two years ago Tommy learned that he had a large malignant tumor in his lung. A successful operation gave him a new lease on life, but he had to face it with the use of only one lung. Tirelessly applying himself to his physical rehab, Tommy he was back on the court within six weeks and had returned to full form within four months.

These guys are tough. They also share the same conviction that if you work at it, you can overcome incredible barriers and reach excellence. As Artie said "You are only limited by what you allow yourself to believe."

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