Tucson Oddity: Hall of fame puts city center court in handball

2011-03-14T00:00:00Z Tucson Oddity: Hall of fame puts city center court in handballPhil Villarreal Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
March 14, 2011 12:00 am  • 

Sports are tied to the cities in which their halls of fame reside. Baseball has Coopers- town, N.Y. Basketball has Springfield, Mass. Football has Canton, Ohio.

And handball has Tucson.

The United States Handball Association headquarters and Hall of Fame have been in town since 1982.

USHA marketing director Matthew Stamp said the powers that be moved the organization here from Chicago in part due to our weather.

Stamp said the Hall of Fame receives between 40 and 50 visitors a month. He said sometimes people are surprised to hear that Tucson is the center of the handball world.

"I try to spread the word about it all the time," Stamp said. "Let them know it's here."

Much like the sport it represents, the Handball Hall of Fame is compact and direct. The walls are adorned with paintings of all 66 members enshrined in the hall, as well as donated trophies, vintage equipment, medals, photos and plaques. Expect to see many pictures of gloved competitors wearing tight-fitting clothing.

The building not only houses handball paraphernalia, but it also serves as the nerve center for the nationwide operations of the USHA. Handball Magazine is published there, and officials coordinate national tournaments, which rotate to various sites around the country.

Stamp takes exception to the Handball Hall of Fame being viewed as an "oddity."

"The Handball Hall of Fame is more of a Tucson treasure than an oddity," he said. "And I would love for people to stop by and see for themselves."

Contact reporter Phil Villarreal at pvillarreal@azstarnet.com or 573-4130.

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