On Saturday, September 13, 2014, LAFD Handball hosted the Annual 3-Wall Invitational Tournament, and 911 Memorial. The event this year featured all of the traditions that both participants and spectators have come to expect and look forward to. The LAFD Color Guard presented the colors as Celine Smith and Olivia Ortiz lead the pledge of allegiance for the 5th year in a row. Gedina Bergstrom from the City Employee’s Club sang the National Anthem and Deputy Chief Joe Castro provided opening remarks in memory of the brave 343 FDNY firefighters who made the ultimate sacrifice on September 11, 2001.
Sponsors for the event were UFLAC, United States Handball Association, West Coast Handball, Southern California Handball Association, BAMKO, and the City Employee’s Club. Special thanks go to Captain Colin Smith, his wife Marcella and their daughters Celine and Cathlan for coordinating the food and running the tournament. Commissioner Chris Yokoyama was in CORE during the week leading up to the tournament and had to rely on these great volunteers to make things happen. Special thanks to Inspector Jerry Travins for picking up the shirts and backpacks and delivering them to the beach.
Fire Station 63 did an outstanding job of cleaning the courts and bleachers on Friday, and as usual they participated in the opening ceremony, which provides official LAFD representation for the civilians present.
This tournament is now one of the most popular in Southern California, and it drew some of the top handball players in the area. There were four skill levels available for play: Open, “A”, “B”, and “C”. Chris Yokoyama and Roy Harvey defeated Joe Castro and Mario Rueda in the “A” final. All other divisions were dominated by more experienced players from the Southern California handball community. LAFD players, start training for next year, we need to win more divisions in our own tournament. This is the second year in a row that LAFD only won one out of four divisions.
The Annual Fall Singles Handball Tournament begins on November 1, 2014 with the finals on December 11th at Fire Station 92.