Jai-Alai Chalk Talk Hall of Fame

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Posted on December 21, 2005 at 00:03:15 AM by Bennett

As a fan I appreciate the info you have shared here. And I completely agree with you about the importance of (and lack of) proper form when it comes to Americans playing this great game. Back when we had schools they produced some Americans who had learned the right way to throw, control the ball, rebote, remate, etc. Not all...but those who had these tools became the stars. We don't see that now. There are Americans who have some natural athleticism who become good enough to compete, but we don't see that textbook pure jai-alai style anymore. Of course not all Basques have the proper training either, but more do....I think as a result of more opportunities for instruction and court time and usually the chance to start at a younger age. You can't fault the Americans in that sense, nor do I blame them for taking the chance to go pro if a player manager watches them play and is willing to sign them.

I remember back when I was a serious amateur player I was practicing one day with some pros, and I remember Corky asking me "Why aren't you playing pro?" Now I will admit that I was glad to hear that a pre-strike pro paid me that compliment and thought I could play pro. But my response was that I was not ready....and what I meant by that was that I wanted to play pro only if my talent got to the level that would have been good enough to play before the strike. In other words, I did not want to barely be able to play early games on a weak roster and play just to say I was a pro. People who do that seem to stop progressing, stop practicing and have a short career. I wanted to be a pro only if it meant being what I'll call a 'real' pro, if that makes any sense. Maybe only those who truly follow this sport and know the difference understand that point of view. In my case since I started late (18) and finished school before getting to that level I ended up in a non jai-alai career, but with no regrets and the knowledge that I did not embarrass myself or be another also-ran pro who hadn't taken the time to develop into a true pelotari.


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