I've never worked harder than since I retired," says Charles J. O'Connell, who is a chipper, hearty 71. Five years ago O'Connell, then an assistant vice-president of New York Life, retired after 50 years' service. But O'Connell continued to serve. "I was afraid I'd die on the vine," he says. "I had to get out of the house." He devoted himself to handball, a game he began playing with a nickel ball against a bulkhead at Brighton Beach, Brooklyn in 1905.
O'Connell, who is chairman of the National AAU Handball Committee, is called The Father of One-wall Handball. O'Connell's latest baby is three-wall handball, a game of his origination, which is played on a court with one side wall. There are, at present, five of these courts in New York City. O'Connell (shown above on one in Central Park) feels the advantages of the new three-wall game are that it allows for many of the tricky, difficult shots of four-wall handball, yet permits ample spectator participation. And O'Connell's baby is growing; he has got letters from a dozen park commissions asking for details.