DELMAR The center of Bethlehem might be the heart of the Capital District handball scene.
Five Delmar residents traveled to Montreal last month and placed at the Canadian National Handball Championships. Two of them -- Bill Bobo and George DeGonazague -- won their age groups, while John Bossung and his sons, Jack and Kyle, placed in the top four of their divisions.
"That speaks well for the (entire) Albany area," said Bobo. "The Albany area has a really talented group of players."
Of the five, DeGonzague is the most accomplished. He has won three consecutive Canadian national singles handball titles including this year, several United States championships and has competed in seven world championships. DeGonzague will be heading to Ireland later this year to compete in his eighth world handball championship.
"I really travel as much as I can," said DeGonzague. "I go to between eight and 10 tournaments a year."
While DeGonzague and Bobo each have been competing for more than 25 years, Jack and Kyle Bossung are just starting out. The two recent Bethlehem Central High School graduates started in their early teens after following their father to The Court Club in Colonie, the primary handball training facility in the Capital District.
"We'd come here a lot and go to tournaments with our dad, so we'd get to see (the sport) a lot," said Kyle Bossung.
The handball lineage in the Bossung family runs deep. John said that he learned the game from his father, who learned the game from his grandfather.
"It's a whole development. It spans generations," said John. "The young people play with the older generation for a long period of time."
Not that learning from older, more experienced players is an easy thing for younger generations to deal with -- especially when they lose to older, more experienced players.