I first met Eddie in the summer of '98 when the Sports and Arts in Schools Foundation employed him and me, along with a group of mutual friends, teaching and coaching handball. After work we'd all hook up and hang out and I got to see him play. He was fresh off the tree, as the saying goes but he had a lot of ability and the potential was definitely there. He was young, I think sixteen years old and somewhat precocious; he knew a lot but like most young people he still had a lot more to learn and not just in handball but in life as well. Eddie's funny and down to earth and I never feel awkward hanging out with him despite the difference in our ages. It was great catching up with him.
He now resides in Palisades Park, New Jersey but he was raised in Queens where he began playing handball at Broadway Park in Elmhurst. At the time he wanted to be like the park's best player but it wasn't long after that he began playing in tournaments, courtesy of Mike Watson, who introduced Eddie to a higher level of the game.
About a year later, at 16, Eddie won the 16 and Under Junior Nationals. When I asked him how, he replied: "I was too nasty." This display of cockiness is not typical of Eddie but sometimes modesty doesn't fully communicate a person's abilities. Off the court Eddie is mad cool but on it, he is nasty. He's aggressive and a hard hitter with lots of energy, two good hands and a nice serve. When I asked him what he wants to accomplish overall in this sport he replied simply, "I want to be the best."
Eddie has shown that he's dedicated towards reaching that goal. Although he lives in New Jersey, he commutes to New York City to practice 4-wall and 1-wall handball. I should add that it's especially important for Eddie to come to the city in order to keep up his 1-wall game because although he can find 4-wall courts in Jersey, it's hard to find any 1-wall courts there.
Eddie's most recent victory came last year at the 1999 One-Wall Nationals. He won the C-Singles. In 1988, he slammed in the Eastern Regionals Three-Wall Handball Tournament and he was runner up in the N. Y. State 4-Wall Tournament.
Eddie is also active in the Big Blue handball circuit. He enjoys playing with the big blue albeit for fun: "It's more fun to play but I get more out of playing with the blackball" (Spaulding red ace).
Eddie's family is very supportive of his handball. He plans to continue training at 78th Street Park in Queens (also home to Ferrence Dominguez and Mike Watson) whenever he can. Could there be a possible Ferrence/Eddie rivalry in the future? They're both young and play very well for their ages and it looks like they'll only get better. Hmm….Well handball fans be on the lookout for future installments of Rising Stars featuring people you probably already know. You can see them on the Internet and say, "Hey, I know that person!"
Anyway, until next time, peace.
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