63rd USHA National Collegiates

This year, the Collegiates for handball was held in Portland, Oregon from February 18-22. The Cal-Berkeley Handball team left early Wednesday morning to fly to Oregon.

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Touchdown in Portland

We searched for the famous Portland food trucks while blasting Kendrick Lamar in the car. We managed to find a taco truck and ate Mexican food before some of the guys’ first matches.

IMG_4042For the most part, Portland was gray and dreary, and it even rained a few times while we were there. It didn’t help that the tournament was located in two different athletic centers that we had to bounce back and forth to, but we made do with the situation with two rental cars.

IMG_4019The next three days were filled with handball games from 9am to 10pm. We had seven players competing for Cal-Berkeley and I got to watch some good games with my teammates. Our diet consisted of bananas, granola bars, and Gatorade.

Team dinner
Team dinner

I ended up winning the first match in the tiebreaker and then lost the following two matches. By Friday night, Cal handball was out of the tournament altogether.

Won first match in tiebreaker
Won first match in tiebreaker

By the end of the third day, everyone smelled like Tiger Balm and Bengay and were sore from top to bottom. A trip to the hotel jacuzzi was in store and we played Mafia.

Handball banquet
Handball banquet

In my four years on the team, this year was the year we took the most players to Collegiates. Therefore, a lot of team bonding happened throughout the week.

Going for the back wall
Going for that back wall

Since no one had any games left, Saturday was reserved for some sightseeing around Portland. Some of us went to explore the city. Of course, a trip to Portland wouldn’t be complete without Voodoo Doughnuts.

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After attending the handball banquet on Saturday night, we all went to Sunset Lanes to bowl. We got in two games and a quick team game. It was a cool place because they played music videos on huge screens across all the lanes and the lights kept changing. Our bowling shoes glowed in the dark too.

IMG_4023After bowling, we played some games at the arcade. We played air hockey, basketball, race cars, and skee ball to name a few.

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Steve and I played an action adventure game that took us on a whole journey through a river cruise, cave temples, and more.

Hoops
Hoops

When we finally got bored of arcade games, we traded our “tickets” for some temporary tattoos of Marvel characters. By this time it was already 1 am.

IMG_4040After spending most of the night chilling with the team, some people went early to see the finals at the tournament. The rest of us, including me, slept in. Before we knew it, it was already time to leave for the airport and head back to the Bay.

Steve and I after my last Collegiates
With Steve after my last Collegiates

The plane ride was fine and we landed in San Francisco earlier than scheduled. We all reminisced of all the good memories we had of each other and of the tournament while riding BART back to Berkeley. Because this was my last Collegiates, I said goodbye to the team but promised to stay in touch and visit Cal handball from time to time.

It’s amazing to think that after four years, I was able to play in the Division I A bracket considering I started at the very bottom freshman year. I will definitely miss Cal Handball; it was the best part of college without any doubt. I made lifelong friends, developed unbreakable relationships, and grew as a player and a person. I owe a lot to the team. Although I’m done with Collegiates, I hope it doesn’t mean I stop playing other tournaments!