Jai-Alai Chalk Talk Hall of Fame

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The Death Of Jai Alai

Posted on January 12, 2004 at 02:41:55 PM by Stephen Ceslik

Found this site on Google, while looking up any available info on 'Jai Alai'...Which leads me to my sad realization that Jai Alai in America seems to be dying in a major way. When I was growing up in the late 70's/early 80's, Jai Alai, at least for us kids, was as vital as baseball. The Milford Amateur Jai Alai courts were open with instruction/training readily available. A cesta could be bought in a sports shop. The Milford Fronton was 5 minutes away, the Bridgeport Fronton 10 minutes away. Never got to Hartford or Newport, but who needed to, with the 2 local Frontons so close by. We even had a pro player (Augie Brozek) come from Turkey Hill School in Orange 10 minutes away...Little by little, it seems Jai Alai just faded from peoples memories...Perhaps it was a 70's 'Fad' like the mood ring or pet rock? Let's face it, Americans have a zero attention span, and very little love of history. And I remember, while my buddies and myself poured over every encyclopedia we could find to learn about these mysterious Basque people, who even neighboring Europeans didn't quite 'get'----they were our heroes, like the Oakland A's, or Led Zeppelin, or whatever....But most Americans at the time even, thought the players were foreign 'Oddities'---no different than a racing horse or dog....sad, but true. And then the Casinos...replace the players with other gambling oddities...Since Jai Alai was a sport in which legalized state-sanctioned gambling was a partner, the consensus was that it was a 'game' to be gambled on, an exotic oddity cheapened by wagering, not the truly beautiful, intense sport that it is. A passion for the players, fans, everyone...I'm sorry if this pessimistic diatribe is too negative, but it breaks my heart to see the empty Fronton, and deserted Amateur Jai Alai building every day on the way to work, and hear most people old enough to remember say, "Who cares, we have the casinos now"....Well, I CARE! And none of this has stopped me from loving the sport, it's just that it's so damn hard to find anyone that cares anymore----that is until I found this site, and a few others...Hopefully I haven't offended anyone, I truly love this beautiful sport, and never realized how good we had it here until it was gone for good!
Stephen Ceslik, Milford, CT. 06460

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