Along with politicians, business and media professionals, and celebrities, sports fans gather once each year to watch the fast-paced competition. Local leaders from Brooklyn and the Bronx have been smashing the ball to the wall in the Johnny Ray Memorial Pro Wall Ball Tournament at MatchPoint NYC since 2015. According to MatchPoint co-founder Dmitry Druzhinsky, the cross-town rivalry is fostered by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. with the aim of engaging inner-city and under-served youth in sports, and also benefiting the U.S. Wall Ball Association’s education, anti-violence and anti-obesity initiatives. The tournament started in 2012 to celebrate the life of Jonathan Ray, the late brother of the USWA CEO and inspiration behind the founding of the association. Dmitry welcomes this opportunity to support organizations that encourage a healthy lifestyle to complex.
Beach-goers hitting a bald tennis ball against the sides of wooden jetties back in the 1930s inspired the New York Parks Department to build community handball courts in city parks says the U.S. Wall Ball Association. Today, the game has gone pro- known as Wall Ball, it is played at athletic centers across the country. Dmitry Druzhinsky, co-founder of MatchPoint NYC, Brooklyn’s premier health and fitness complex, recently hosted politicians for the Pro Wall Ball Tournament. Billed as the “Battle of the Boroughs,” this large annual contest raises awareness of public health and youth empowerment and sends the winning team home with a trophy and a year of bragging rights.