LEARNING JAI ALAI
VIDEOS AND PHOTOS
fascinating sport overshadowed by myth
advertising aimed at attracting customers
attend frontons and bet on the
There is no doubt that Jai Alai is a great sport to watch, and an exhilarating and fun one to bet on. Typically you’d place a bet and enjoy watching athletes hurl the ball against a granite wall at tremendous speeds for 15 or 20 minutes, before knowing if your bet was successful. Those are moments of pure fun and excitement while you sort out in the head all the different variables that need to happen as the match goes on, for your combination to be a winner, while watching a truly spectacular sport. In my opinion, it is much more fun than watching a bunch of dogs, or horses, run around the track in a minute or two.
Just thinking and writing about this makes me want to get up and go to the fronton, as I did 2-3 times a week many years ago to enjoy the show. I used to go with $6 in my pocket, which I used to bet on a quiniela box on two games. If I won I kept betting, if I didn’t, then that’s how much it cost me to watch the show, and be amazed at the athletes’ abilities, coordination and reflexes.
One glorious day, I found out that there was an amateur place where I could learn, and play the sport too, but wait! those catchy words were embedded on my brain, “the world’s fastest sport”, “hard rock men playing with a hard rock ball”, a “dangerous” sport and other catchy advertising gimmicks aimed at glorifying and mystifying jai alai with the purpose of luring potential bettors to the frontons, and all I could think was “hard rock ball coming dangerously fast right at my head”, and other negative thoughts such as “I’ll never be able to get out of the lighting fast balls’ way”.
Finally, curiosity got the best of me and I headed over to American Amateur Jai Alai Inc., located at North Miami Beach on 1935 NE 150th st, just to check it out. When I got there I was surprised to see that there were all kinds of folk playing jai-alai, matter of fact, did not see any “hard rock men” or extreme sport type of athletes, but regular folk like you and me, many were way more out of shape than I was. I also found out that there is a method to the madness, you are NOT allowed to go near the hard ball (same ball they use at the frontons) until you are fully qualified to do so. This trip was well worth it and in fact gave me a lot of confidence and made it a lot easier to convince myself to give it a try. At this point, I would like to strongly encourage you to try the sport, it is very easy to purchase a cesta if you live in South Florida, and it is even popular in Internet auctions such as ebay, relatively cheap too. But read on, to find out more of the challenges that await you, oh yes! it may seem easy, but it is a very difficult to throw, even more difficult to catch a ball with this newly acquired gadget called a “cesta”, but don’t despair, it just adds to the challenge and makes you more determined to learn.