Fistball worldwide – USFA – Interview with Diane

The Phoenix Sports Club is one of the members of the Eastern Fistball Association. Fistball at Phoenix is closely connected with the families Groeber and Ganslosser. We take this opportunity to ask some questions to Diane Ganslosser Groeber.

Diane, was is your function in the Club?

I am the Vice-President of the Phoenix Club. My husband Steve is the Men’s Fistball Coach and Sports Chairman, coordinating all the sports (soccer and Fistball) at the Club . I’m also Sports Chairman of the Ladies Auxilary at Phoenix. For 18 years I ran the Women’s Fistball Program. Our daugtherTricia will take over running the Women’s program (the real name of our club, by our constitution is “The First German Sport Club Phoenix”.

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(Diane, Tricia and Steve)

Already you- and Steve’s parents were closely connected with fistball and the club. How did it all start?

All 4 of my grandparents came over to the USA from Germany and joined the First German Sport Club Phoenix. My mother met my father at Phoenix. Steve’s parents came to the US in 1926 and met and married at Phoenix. My family and Steve’s family all belonged to the Phoenix club, so they where good friends. Steve and I met through the club. I knew many of his family before we started dating. Our first date was the Groeber Family picnic.

Steve had many aunts and uncles at Phoenix as he grew up. This meant he had a lot of cousins also, playing fistball. Fistball to Steve at the club, meant playing with his cousins and friends. In 1960’s and 70’s we had tournaments involving 12-15 teams from New Jersey and Pennsylvania. 4 to 5 clubs.

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(Woman Fistball in the 50s; Diane’s Grandfather, pictured to the left, is the coach.)

My sister Susan, and her 2 children Laura and Ryan also play fistball.

Your daughter Tricia is a member of the Women’s National Team, representing the colors of the United States at the World Championship in Germany last year. What does this mean for you and the whole family Groeber

We are so proud of her. She worked very hard to be ready to play on the National Team. Tricia started playing when she was 5 years old. Phoenix needed a 5th player on the childrens team so we had her stand there. It is a joke that since Tricia played with her older cousins and her brother, she didn’t hit a Fistball until she was 7 years old.

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(Tricia 7 years old) (Tricia at the Worldchampionship 2014 in Dresden)

This year the very first Pan Am Games with teams from Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Chile and the USA will take place on the east coast. What does it means for Phoenix and the Groebers?

We hope this effort will help grow the sport in the US. If you would have asked me 10 years ago if I would become friends with people from all over the world I would have told you “You are crazy” I love all the people we have become friends with through Fistball. I haven’t met a Fistball player that I do not like. They are all good people. It is a very exciting time for Phoenix. Our members, many of whom played Fistball, are very excited to meet all the international players and watch the games.

We hope to show others the high level of competition found in the other countries which are coming.

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We will try our very best to help make it successful. By that we mean to make our South American friends feel at home and welcome. Bob Feid from SSC is a very good friend of ours and we will help provide a good tournament at SSC as well as a “warm-up” tournament hosted at Phoenix SC the weekend before. The city of Philadelphia and New York are wonderful cities to visit. A lot of history and excitement.

An IFA survey showed that an overwhelming majority of member federations welcomes the idea of IFA Women’s Fistball World Championships every two years. On the basis of this order President Weiss fixed an agreement with Pomerode/Brazil for 23 to 30 October 2016. What do you think about that?

I think it is a good idea, but the US has a long way to go to keep up with that ambitious of a schedule.
The US Government does not fund Fistball. The players pay all traveling expenses themselves. It is difficult for our girls to make World Championships every 2 years.

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(Fistball Sports Group at Phoenix)

Diane, thank you for your time!
More about Phoenix: http://phoenixsportclub.com/
More about the PanAm Games on: http://usfistball.com/

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