I wrote a long answer to this question yesterday, and by the time
I went to post it the board was down!
I first saw jai-alai when a couple of friends from one of my bowling leagues invited me to go to Bridgeport with them in 1976. I was hooked immediately.
While at a jai-alai performance in 1980 (I'm not sure if it was at Bridgeport or Milford), I saw an ad in the program for American Amateur Jai-Alai, which was still under construction at the time. I checked it out, and signed up as a charter member. I was in the first beginner's class taught there by Rosie Hernandez. (Some people say I should STILL be in that class!)
Back in the early 80s, you could reserve court 1 at AAJA for $25 an hour. A couple of friends and I used to do that for two hours on Saturday or Sunday morning just about every weekend. We'd play singles for two hours, then shower up, have lunch, and go watch the matinee at either Bridgeport or Milford, whichever was open at the time. A couple of times, the person who took our reservation didn't enter it on the schedule, and we got up there to find that the court had been reserved by someone else. On those occasions, we ventured out onto court 2 and played doubles against a bunch of guys who were way better than we were, and got our butts whipped. It was a moral victory to win two points in a row against those guys, but it was fun being out there.