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Re(3): Professional effort

A big crowd of fans does encourage players, as noted. Another example is the inter-fronton contests the frontons had. I'm going back a while, so at the risk of telling some readers what they already know, here's some history. World Jai-Alai started to have Miami vs. Tampa fronton competitions, since it owned both frontons. Those games were usually played on Saturday nights (Sunday mornings, past midnight), after the last regular game. The competition would alternate between the Miami and Tampa frontons on successive Saturday evenings. Each fronton's team consisted of its best players. Because of the proximity of Miami and Tampa, fans of the "visiting" fronton would travel to the "home" fronton to see the competition. The visiting players would be in the later regular games. After the last regular game, for the competition game, no formal betting using the fronton's tote system occurred, but some fans in the stands bet against each other. The competition game was doubles (not singles) and was a partido - 21 points, having to win by 2. Evidently very well made pelotas were used, as the selection was made from a shallow box offered to the server by one of the Judges. The pelotaris played superbly. All of the fans, even those who had not bet with someone from the opposing fronton, were into the game. They were seeing superb jai-alai ! And the players rose to the occasion. Later, when forms of gambling other than horses and dogs became available, the frontons cooperated and more frontons were able to enter the competition and enter a team; the competition traveled from fronton to fronton for Saturday night play, making the competition truly inter-fronton. With more frontons competing, I recall (I hope correctly), that the round-robin system was used, with Win, Place, and Show teams getting points in the competition, the final number of points, (and usually the winner of the competition) being determined at the last game. At such a game, I saw the best front court shot and back court shot that I have ever seen - but that may be for a later post. Those inter-fronton games were another incentive for players to strive to be their best. What fun !

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