Playing handball is a rite of passage for many kids growing up in the city. The sport helps children, teens, and young adults stay fit and out of trouble. The most popular form of handball only requires a ball and a wall and helps create a community of athletes with a passion for the game.
One person who shares this passion for American handball is Jasmine Ray. She has spent three years developing a website and organization called Wall Ball World. Wall Ball World’s mission is, “To Establish the Sport of Wall Ball as a Vehicle for Inspiring and Empowering Peoples’ Lives.” Last December, CNN en Español profiled Jasmine and Wall Ball World.
Wall Ball World aims to be the hub of all wallball/handball sites across the globe. It also hopes to make a huge difference in the lives of many young people in urban areas.
“There are a lot of handball associations out there,” Jasmine Ray said. “But we cater more to a younger, urban/minority population.”
Jasmine also noted the entrance fees to tournaments sponsored by other organizations make the game out of reach for a lot of people. She wants to keep Wall Ball World tournament fees affordable at about half of what other associations charge. Wall Ball World has also awarded more prize money than other organizations thanks to Jasmine’s fierce pursuit of sponsors.
Jasmine, who was born in Brooklyn, has dedicated Wall Ball World to the memory of her brother Jonathan Robert Ray. The two grew up playing handball together and against local kids.
“When he passed away,” Jasmine recalled “the best way to honor his memory was with a handball tournament.”
Handball helps keep young people healthy by keeping them away from the coach and video games. Jasmine promotes the sport as a way to get people moving.
“I’m going to motivate my people to exercise and I’m going to do it with handball,” Jasmine said.
Wall Ball World is always looking for corporate sponsors who want to help create positive changes in communities of color and accepts donations from private citizens who share Jasmine’s dream.
“I see Wall Ball World becoming international and providing my community an opportunity to see the world through playing their favorite sport,” said Jasmine.