By Staff Reports
(Hesperia) – Here’s an interesting fact that many people don’t know: some of the finest handball players in the world live right here in the Victor Valley. Naty Alvarado, Sr., El Gato, winner of eleven world championships and a member of the World Handball Hall Fame lives in Hesperia. His son in law, John Bike of Hesperia and a teacher at Victorville Elementary School, will be inducted into the World Handball Hall of Fame on June 28th. John has had an amazing career and is one of the few to ever achieve this type of award.
Bike not only excelled on the handball court for the past 25 years, but continues to play top-notch handball, and conduct instructional seminars. “John Bike may very well be the most influential handball player our game has ever seen,” says WPH Executive Director and Hall of Fame presenter David C. Vincent. “Bike has probably received more press for this sport than anyone since Naty Alvarado Sr. dominated the scene.”
Vincent continues, “The Bike-Alvarado family carries the torch for this sport. Having spent time with them, playing handball against and alongside, and having reminisced about handball’s past and the future of the game, plus celebrating weddings, birthdays and anniversaries with their family, I can unequivocally tell you that this family is a part of the handball legacy and so very important to the game’s future. There is not a time when I have needed advice or a place to crash for the night or question answered when the Bike-Alvarado’s weren’t happy to assist me.”
In a recent interview with Vincent, Bike talked about his thoughts on being inducted into the U.S. Handball Hall of Fame, “I got into the game following my dad around the East Coast weekend tournament circuit and stayed with it first for the challenge then for the camaraderie and unique life experiences. Just last week, 88 year-old Alvis Grant reminded me that we met in Norfolk, VA at a National Masters when I was 6 or 7 years old. It’s really a unique bond we all share. This induction is the icing on the cake. I was just making the best effort at doing something I enjoyed doing anyway, and now the ultimate honor in the sport is being bestowed upon me.”
The game can be brutal, but fulfilling according to Vincent. Bike spoke with Vincent about his well publicized shoulder surgery and how he has fought through injuries throughout his career to continue to perform at a high level. “I’ve been pretty fortunate in that department. Fred Lewis explained this well to me one time when I was in my late twenties and feeling sorry for myself about perceived ‘injuries’. We all have an accumulation of dings and battle scars. Accept that being 100% as healthy as your younger self isn’t a reasonable expectation. Just make 100% effort at being the most with what you have.”
He continued, “The other part to answering that question is to adapt a fluid definition of ‘perform at a high level’. 46 year old JB probably scores about 5 points off 26 year old JB, but I’m fine with that.”
John Bike will be honored on June 28th at the 62nd United States Handball Association’s 4 Wall National Championships in Fountain Valley.