Moving U: New Yorkers Bring Love Of Handball To South Florida For Fitness, Fun

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – After a long day of scheduling patients for radiology at a local hospital, Luis Melendez hits the handball court.

A game played with a small rubber ball, a wall and your hands!  For him and his handball crew, it’s addictive.

“I’ve been playing since I was 14, and I can’t stop,” Melendez said.

We met Melendez and his buddies through CBS4’s Moving U campaign.

They imported the game from their native New York, and now they play it here in South Florida nearly every day.

To them, it is therapeutic. The players weren’t even halfway through the first set and they had already worked up quite a sweat.

The ringleader of this rugged crew is Roque “Q” Florez.

“Q” – as he’s known – is the founder of the Miami Set, the team that we visited for this story. He also organized the Florida Handball League of Players.

The League holds handball tournaments throughout South Florida where he and Luis compete. When not playing, Q is an accountant who says this sport tones the body and mind.

“After everything’s said and done, you’re letting out a lot of stress, and you go home, and you’re relaxed,” Q explained. “You forgot all about the stress of the day with the kids, the wife, the job, politics, everything.”

These handball junkies play at parks throughout Miami Dade and Broward. Q even explained the nicknames they have for each day of the week.

“Mondays are Mun-daze, Tuesdays we are calling Tough it out Tuesdays,” he said

CBS4’s Jim Berry gave the sport a try, and after a while he got the hang of it, but they really showed Jim how it’s done.

By nightfall, Jim was part of the handball fraternity. This team of handball players keeps it moving, while keeping it friendly.

When we found them, The Miami Set was playing at the Robert King High Park at 7025 W Flagler St. in Miami.

You can find them there most Thursday nights. They also play at other parks in Miami-Dade and Broward.

For more information about parks with Handball courts, and directions, here are some links:

http://www.miamidade.gov/parks/facilities.asp

http://www.miamigov.com/parks/index.html

http://www.broward.org/Parks/Pages/Default.aspx

You can also check with your municipality for public courts.

For information on the Florida Handball League of Players, founded by Roque “Q” Florez visit their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/QNYatMIA/

And if you want to share the way you stay happy and healthy, send us an email to movingu@cbsmiami.com and you too might be featured on Moving U!

More from Jim Berry
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