Jai-Alai Chalk Talk Hall of Fame

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This is great! Thanks for posting! More info...

Posted on February 15, 2010 at 07:54:33 PM by Bennett

A big, BIG thanks to Jesus who I believe is the one responsible for posting this. Jesus is the backcourter in post 5, playing with Tom (handle TR). Previously Jesus had posted a video showing the points his team was involved in. I ask if he had the original VHS still and sure enough he posted another video, this time showing the points my team played. This video was shot from the fronton's camera and they sold copies after the event. I don't have a copy which makes it great to see this. Thanks again!

So I am the frontcourter in post 6, handle Bennett but my real name is Gary. I will try to add some info here on this tournament. First, it is hard to believe this took place 20 years ago this April! The date shows 4/20/90....so that would be 2 years after the strike started. The amateur ranks had been thinned out as a lot of players had gone pro in 1988 as replacement players. But I think you will agree that there still were some competitive amateurs out there, as the play here was overall pretty decent. Especially considering most of us had never played on this Palm Beach cancha before. The play was a little shaky at first, then I believe guys settled in. There was one judge who was whistle-happy on calling juggling. We got a couple freebie points as a result but it looks like juggling should not have been called. At the end I run down a two-wall from Tom and get called for juggling. In that case it was a good call, the ball got way out of my cesta and I tried an awkward throw to recover which hit the pad anyhow. In the first few points I think nerves were a big factor for everyone as this was the first tournament for many of us. As a point of reference, I had been playing as an amateur for a little over two years when this took place....and that inexperience shows a few times! All comments welcome, I have thick skin!

Now to some details on the players, and some answers to the questions from below. My partner was Rob Schwartz, and this is a different Rob Schwartz than the one featured in the Amateur Venues section. Rob was actually a frontcourt player, and is playing with a frontcourt cesta. From watching this video, it doesn't really do him justice. Rob had a couple easy drops and one clip throw off-court, but he was a better player than that. And he did bail me out a few times with some catches on balls I should have gone for. The dilemma was that we were the two representatives from Ocala, but we both played frontcourt. So he played my backcourt in this tournament and then he did play the frontcourt in a Dania tournament that was right after this. I was not going to be able to make the Dania tournament so we figured this way we each got to play an event in our "normal" position. Rob did get 3rd as I recall in the Dania event, can't remember who got 1st/2nd but I think it was players from CT.

The other players are exactly as TR lists in his post below. I don't know much about the players in post 1.

Post 2 was Mitchell/Mike Carmody. Back then we called Mitchell "Hippy Mike" and he later played pro as Mitchell at Tampa and Dania. At Tampa I think it was spelled Michel. Talk about asking for abuse! Mike Carmody was a good amateur who also was a frontcourter, but played back here. He had a strong left side. In one of these points he throws a left and I misjudge it and get out of position for the rebote. I should have known better since I played with him a lot at Ocala. Mike was a judge there and also at Fort Pierce, but I don't believe he ever played pro.

Post 3 was Mike/Mark from Orlando. They were the 2 best Orlando amateurs at the time and played in other tournaments representing Orlando. As I recall I believe they won a tournament that took place maybe a year after this at Fort Pierce. And yes Mark did play in the Cuba event representing the U.S. He had good power and Mike had a very good left rebote.

Post 4 I don't know much about except that they were representing the Dania school which was in existence at this time. It was called American Amateur and run by the former backcourter Salsamendi.

Post 5 is Tom/Jesus representing Miami which I think means North Miami amateur(?) where they were regular players. We know Tom as TR here and all you have to do is watch a few points and you can see that he was a very good player. Good enough to play pro at Ocala or Fort Pierce in my opinion. He slices me up more than once here. Jesus I did not know personally but you can see that he was a catching machine and makes some tough grabs. Check out the other video which is an option to view when this one finishes, that is the one that highlights their points and it has some good action.

Also - this was game one of two 'preliminary' games in this tournament. There were actually 12 teams, representing most of the FL, CT and RI frontons. So they split into 2 groups with the top 3 teams from each of the preliminary games playing in the finals. It was won by Mike Tuttle/Dave Litvin as TR mentions, they were the Dania team. Tuttle was signed immediately to play at Palm Beach. He is not in this video, he was in the other prelim game. Also in the other game were the players TR mentions....Egana, Alex (both backcourts) and yes HOEY did play in this tournament - he was the ripe old age of 15! He played as Egana's frontcourt partner Also, Jacques (frontcourt) played in this one too. Egana, Alex and Jacques were the other players signed that day. They were from either CT or RI or some combo thereof(?) You will see them in action if you watch the other video.

It would be great to see events of this caliber again in the amateur jai-alai world. Maybe with the efforts of Benny and others that will happen!


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