September 18, 2007

Basque Country

Jai-Alai (IPA: [haɪ alaɪ] in English and [haɪ ɑ laɪ] in Basque) means "Merry Festival" in the Basque language. As a typical element of Florida, scenes of the Miami Jai Alai appeared in the title sequence of the TV series Miami Vice. Another interesting fact for the kids, Mr. Burns of The Simpsons plays Jai alai after he gets a blood transfusion from Bart.

Whether forty years ago or today, sports bring people together. I was at the Basque Cultural Center recently and you couldn't get a seat for the finals of the pelota games. These were paid seats and a sport I had never seen or heard of before. Amazing but there were many who I spoke with that followed the sport closely. Some had traveled to the area from places like Venezuela and Mexico to be at the matches.

Pelota in Spanish, pilota in Basque and Catalan, or pelote in French (from Latin pila) is a name for a variety of court sports played with a ball using one's hand, a racket, a wooden bat (pala), or a basket propulsor, against a wall (frontón in Spanish, frontoi in Basque, frontó in Catalan) or, more traditionally, with two teams face to face separated by a line on the ground or a net.

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