Whilst most of the Bay Area was either at the Burning Man or discussing the class struggle unfolding there, the San Francisco CalHeat men and women’s teams braved the labor day traffic on their way to the 10th annual Southern California Beach Handball Tournament in Huntington Beach, CA.
The tournament was organized by LATHC and brought no fewer than 15 teams (5 in the women’s division, 10 in the men’s) to battle out under the scorching Californian sun for the title. Amongst many great activities, the most notable was the Beach Handball clinic that was hosted by Brazil’s own Antônio Guerra Peixe. With a humbling 4 world titles as head coach of the Brazilian team, Antônio was the guest of honor of the show and proved to be the sport’s greatest fan by spending the extra hours to teach participants the fundamentals of Beach Handball.
On day 1, things started off slow as both CalHeat teams ended up losing their first games to the soon-to-be-crowned champions. The men’s team took their first game to the shoot-outs before demonstrating how crucial a solid understand of the rules is.
The girls team then led the way by defeating the Trinidad and Tobago team with a myriad of 360’s, Kempas and other stylish plays. Inspired by that victory along with the frivolous Huntington nightlife both teams made it to the semi-finals on day 2.
In the women’s division, CalHeat got revenge on the Sand Sharks who beat them in the group phase. The game came to its conclusion after a nail-biting shoot-out session, CalHeat did not waver and scored consistently putting the pressure on the opposite team. Unfortunately, the team from Colima (Mexico) was too strong in the finals and CalHeat lost in a tight game against a well-rounded and prepared delegation from Mexico. Nonetheless, we are very proud and happy for the Silver medal the team brings back home.
In the men’s divisions, after a tight semi-final against a team composed of half of the USA National Team and players from LA, CalHeat lost and was left to play for the bronze. The San Diego/LA team fought valiantly but in the end was overcome by an enthusiastic and motivated San Francisco team, eager to bring home another medal.
And so there was one club. San Francisco CalHeat celebrated their silver and bronze medal under the sun with their eyes on the horizon and the goal of bringing back the gold in 2017.
By Francis Brero