The game of handball has been played for thousands of years. In ancient Egypt, tombs in the temple of Osiris depict priests striking a ball with the hand. Alexander the Great is known for introducing the game to Greek colonies in Italy and, subsequently, the entire Roman Empire. In the Americas, evidence of a distant relative of the game can be found in more than 700 ruins from Arizona to Nicaragua. Shuffling ahead to the 21st century, handball is still going strong, albeit a bit refined. The papyrus-stuffed leather balls of old have given way to rubber, and fluorescent lighting and hardwood floors offer an alternative to the sun and dirt. The game is still as popular, so much so that dozens of ballers from around the country bounced into the Durango Sports Club last weekend for the 31st annual High Country Classic Handball tournament. Trading their loincloths for lycra, players competed Friday and Saturday for the gold. The competition was followed by the Bike/Tyson Handball Camp, which ran through the week at the Sports Club.

Tony Rocco, right, and his teammate are seen through a peephole
in the door during a doubles match. Tony was the director of the
tournament. A ball bounces off the glass as a handballer warms up for
singles play. Former FLC president and part-time handball coach Joel Jones
watches a match from above on Saturday. Eli Halterman, of Montrose and no relation, plays the ball off
the rear wall during warm up before a match. David Farmer, owner of the Durango Sports Club and a participant
in last weekends competition, stays focused as the ball bounces by
him and off of the back wall. Players have four walls with which to
play off of. A player scrambles for the ball during a singles match.


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