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Top Stories - 2003
• USHA One-Wall Nationals
• King of the Courts
• One-Wall Profiles

Top Stories - 2002
• USHA One-Wall Nationals
• King of the Courts
• Mayor's Cup
• NYC Big Blue Championship

Top Stories - 2001
• USHA One-Wall Nationals
• Mayor's Cup
• King of the Courts
• NYC Big Blue Championship

Top Stories - 2000
• World Championships
• USHA One-Wall Nationals
• Mayor's Cup
• King of the Courts
• Close-up: Priscilla Shumate
• NYC Big Blue Championship
• Full 2000 Coverage

Top Stories - 1999
• USHA One-Wall Nationals
• King of the Courts
• Close Up: Ference Dominguez
• Partners in the Game
• Full 1999 Coverage

Eddie Petrizzi
by Ben Brighton

Eddie Petrizzi at NYC Big Blue Doubles 2004.
Click for bigger picture

Eddie Petrizzi at NYC Big Blue Doubles 2004
Not long ago, I watched on Sports Channel the fifth and deciding game of the 1969 World Series between the Mets and the Orioles. A flood of memories came back. One thing that really struck me was the size of the players. They looked like average normal sized people. Compare that to the size of today’s athlete’s. Smaller players like “Tiny” Archibald in basketball or Phil Rizzuto in baseball gave hope to millions of kids that they could realize their dreams.

But due to better training, nutrition and in some cases steroids today’s athletes are so huge it’s hard for young fans to identify with them. But if you want to look for inspiration to a “smaller” person playing much larger than his height, look no further than Eddie Petrizzi.

A mainstay at the Coney Island handball courts for two decades, Eddie at 5’7” 140 pounds and 43 years old with silver hair looks like he should be calling the short line.

But put him on the court with the city’s best big blue players and you can’t take your eyes off him. If you compare his skills with those of the premier players such as “Rookie” Wright, “PeeWee” Castro, George Figueroa, etc. he comes up lacking in the important skill categories. His left hand and power are just average compared to the other “A” players. But what Eddie has are a great defense, excellent quickness and a knowledge and understanding of the game and what it takes to win.

Like a center fighting for position under the basket, Eddie fights for control of the short line where games are won and lost. He uses the top of the wall, a lost art form for many, as well as anybody.

Then there are intangibles ­ heart, desire, and determination which you can’t measure on a chart but make a player play “bigger” than he is. At the end of the day Eddie’s back, legs and arms are covered in black and blue bruises, a small price to pay to retrieve a ball or prevent a killer from his opponent. He has competed in dozens of tournaments, and to his credit, has placed in the “top four” many times.

He doesn’t limit himself to just handball. Each fall he plays in a football league. His position ­ wide receiver ­ putting his body in harm’s way against bigger opponents and has won team MVP honors.

In the movie “Damn Yankees” the song “You Gotta Have Heart” inspired the Washington Senators to beat the mighty Yankees. That is something that “Fast Eddie” has plenty of heart.

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