Mark and Crab, I just read your posts and I would like to add
something else here. Most people wouldn't know this, but IJAPA's
first president was James from Hartford (he played there for years
and also a year in Newport). He decided that he didn't want to
continue striking with us, and he crossed the picket line in Hartford.
I wasn't in agreement with his decision, but I respected him for
his choice. NOONE was forced to go on strike. Soon after, we players
voted for a new IJAPA president and we voted for Riki Lasa. What
can I tell you about Lasa? Some people loved him, some despised
him. I personally hold great respect for him. He was tough with
the fronton owners and management. He had to be because they would
have walked all over us if we didn't have someone like Riki at
the head of the pack. Was he perfect? No, but he was the right
person to make waves when it came to negotiations with the management!
I mentioned to you earlier about fans believing that we went on
strike for salary negotiations. Again, that is absolutely false.
I thought that I was making fairly good money at the time for
a rookie, and believe me, the 'superstars' (like Remen,
Uriarte, James, and Alberdi etc.) were making very good money.
Do you think that we enjoyed going on strike? I lost three crucial
developmental years of my Jai Alai career and the 'superstars'
lost a lot, too. Riki, besides being president of IJAPA, lost
many good years as a player fighting for better working conditions
and job security for all of us and the future generations of players
that would come to the States to play professionally, and the
Americans, too! The final statement is this, we had no choice
but to a) bend over and take it up the rear end by accepting what
the management offered us (in other words, many of us would have
been sent home and the American players would also have been fired)
or b) go by the rule 'an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth'
and fight to the death. B was the way to go for us, there was
no turning back. Like I said before, I don't regret anything I
By the way, the strike didn't happen overnight. We confronted the management many times about the working environment many times, and all they did was laugh in our faces and threaten us.
Thanks for your support, I really appreciate the fact that you never disrespected the players.