Young handball players from three countries and 13 U.S. states are set to compete in a national tournament in Des Plaines this week. Lattof YMCA, in cooperation with the Des Plaines Park District and the U.S. Handball Association, is hosting the 57th Annual U.S. Handball Association National Junior 4-Wall Championships from Dec. 27-30.
Matches, played throughout the daytime, will take place at Lattof YMCA, 300 E. Northwest Highway in Des Plaines, and at Prairie Lakes Community Center, 515 E. Thacker St. in Des Plaines, throughout the competition.
Handball players from Illinois account for 38 of the 88 total registered, according to USHA’s website.
Oscar Zamora, of Des Plaines, will referee some of the matches. Zamora credited Lattof’s youth handball program, in operation since 1980, with giving him an important opportunity in his life.
Don Quinlan runs Lattof’s youth handball program.
“Since handball is so difficult to learn, we focus on bringing out the best in each player,” Quinlan said. “The objective is not to necessarily win, but to simply try your best. And if someone loses, even if they get beat 21-0, if they tried their best, our players know that they can walk out with their head held high.”