The very first Minnesota State Handball Association (MSHA) web site was introduced in late 1995. It was not the very first handball web site – reportedly Texas A&M had something a few months earlier. The MSHA site was the second website in the world dedicated to handball and it is the only site that has been operating continuously since that time. The MSHA web site is therefore, the oldest continuously operating handball web site in the world.
The home computer was introduced by Apple in 1982 and it still was mostly a novelty in the 1990s. Universities had discovered the usefulness of broad electronic communication with an early version of connectivity using tools such as Gopher which allowed one to interconnect with others electronically over a developing interstate network. One could connect to Gopher locally and get information to and from remote sites over this network. Scientific and other data was being shared and email started to become a realty for some. A new-fangled resource was in the early stages of development called the World Wide Web (WWW). This was still before most people had e-mail. People with computers were just getting use to changing from 5 inch floppy disks to 3.5 inch disks. America On line (AOL) was still delivered on CD disks and was at version 2.0. Google did not exist and Amazon was not even a dream. Sheldon Silberman, secretary of the MSHA, at the urging of his sister-in-law decided to learn something about the World Wide Web (WWW) in early 1995. He studied some on-line information (via Gopher and the WWW) about developing web pages using a special coded language call Hyper Text Mark-up Language (HTML). Silberman decided to attempt to build a handball web site as a training effort. The MSHA web site was born. It was first advertised to the membership in the January 1996 Newsletter.
The site was initially hosted on AOL and remained there for many years. As internet service became more competitive and capable and AOL service became troublesome the hosting was moved to Comcast in 2003 and remained there until 2015. In 2006, the MSHA registered the domain name of MNhandball.org through GoDaddy.
In 2014, a few members expressed concerned with the some limitations of the old web site siting needs for more connectivity with the handball community, on-line registration, instant updates and more. The MSHA board took up the discussion after the 2014 Nationals and ultimately, led by Steve Tamminga started researching some possibilities. The need for more collaborative development and maintenance was a key feature required by the board. Steve worked with a local company, SportNgin, known for developing and hosting sports related web sites – particularly league sports. A new template was developed and construction began in late 2014.
On January 26, 2015, a new MSHA website hosted by SportNgin was launched. While many features were added along the way, this was the first major upgrade of the site in over 20 years! In addition to the new host and enhanced features, the association, through board member Mike Gustafson also began a relationship with R2Sports for on-line tournament registration at the same time completing the upgrade.
We’ve turned the page and have embarked on a new chapter in the MSHA on-line presence.