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Re(1): How have Players changed since the early days of Jai-Alai??

Posted on February 13, 2004 at 06:40:46 PM by TommyK

While it may seem at first glance that the players of the 70's showed no emotion, if you got close to the court, the exact opposite often proved true.

I was watching a game at Milford Jai-Alai circa 1980. Juaristi went for a fall down rebote in the singles game on a Saturday evening and the ball spit out of his cesta. He sat on the floor and grabbed the tip of his basket and pulled it so hard that he crushed his basket. Juaristi was full of emotion...I can see him now after a ball popped out of his basket repeatedly firing the ball into his cesta over and over, as if to show that the ball really could be caught.

On another occasion, I was sitting in the front row. A short little pelotari named Beide (#23 at Milford) was walking off the court after losing on game point. My friend who had just lost his quiniella shouted at him when he was right in front of him "Beide, you couldn't win a game if you tried." Beide stopped in his tracks and put his face right up against the screen and said "what did you say?" There were some other comments uttered in Spanish that I didn't understand but I can imagine what they were.

The Bridgeport players appeared to the audience to be in full control. But if you were up close, you could hear them yelling "Dios" when they dropped a ball, see their faces tighten up, fists being clenched and an occasional basket being slammed into the side wall.

As I reflect back, the players in those days had even MORE emotion than they do now. It is easy to see why...when there is a screaming crowd of 6000 people driving the adrenalin level up, the players were all about emotion. I never had any doubt that they were trying as hard as they could. I cannot always say the same for the current crop of players, although that is based on outward appearances and I am sure they have the same will to win.

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