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Question of the Week Archive (10+ years)

Has King Court divided the jai alai community?

WOW! It looks like this is how the strike of '88 would've been like, had there been social media back then. I have seen some really heated arguments and statements going both sides of the issue mostly on facebook, from players, ex-players and fans, and there seems to be no middle ground. I have seen people calling the players scabs, not even because they are crossing a picket line since there's no strike, but for dis-respecting the sport, I guess? I can understand spanish well, but not so well when they used big words in real spanish from Spain LOL. Such passion surrounds this sport.

People are pissed that this is not real jai alai, but what are you to do when you are a pelotari and they offer you good money to play in that setup? Don't call it jai alai if you don't want but these players are not doing anything illegal, everything is legal and money is money, you gotta propvide for your family. Don't wanna call it jai alai? fine call it pelota corta or kiddies pelota, but is a job, and for what I've heard pays pretty well.

On the other side, the passion and pride for the sport comes real strong and LOUD. Some feel the players are making a mockery of the sport and no self-respecting pelotari should associate with that setup and aid these people that just want to get poker licenses and could give a rats arse about jai alai. That it is proper for 8-10 years old to play but not grown men to throw rubber or plastic balls around in a short court, that is a total disgrace to do so by professional players.

I was there for the performances and I am truly disgusted by the rubber ball, as I'm sure the players are, but for what I heard this was supposed to be the new court that is going to pop-up in a lot of places and the players agreed to try something new, unfortunately the panels broke and the plans had to change, and they are working on options, it will not stay that way.

I think this project, besides the obvious reason of the poker license, is an effort to keep the "commercial jai alai" in some type of financially manageable business, and that these owners cared enough that instead of closing the curtains and have the two tellers playing each other to one point, went out of their way and got proffesional pelotaris, and some of the best at that to give a reasonable performance, unfortunately the court did not cooperate, the rubber ball sucked and the plastic ball was a major improvement, but still a granite ball with a nice hard plastic ball that sounds like the original would be a thousand times better. Is it real jai alai? NO, is it fun to watch these players with a hard plastic ball, YES, I was there and I saw it, and I can post videos but unless you are there and see for yourself you can't tell. The rubber ball is disgusting and unwatchable but when they were playing with the harder ball that had a pretty good range, after about 4 games once I got over my "this is not real jai alai hissy fit" I actually enjoyed it. Zabala was playing really good and Erik, Foronda and Salegui too and it was fun to watch.

I am in no way saying that this is real jai alai or that this is what the future of jai alai should be, but I am treating it as an experiment that is in progress and in very early stages and they are working fo fix the issues that have presented, this is not the end product by any means, I am willing to be patient and see what comes up and the reason is that this court could be used to develop very young players, and be used to showcase developing players that want to get in the real courts at some time, and certainly could be used to develop amateur programs like they used to have in North Miami. Most amateurs here in South Florida learned in this type of short courts cause the only amateur hardball since the mid 80's was in North Miami and the owner wouldn't let you near it until he saw you get profficient at the plastic ball. For me and other older amateurs, a court this size with the right front wall and a good matching hard plastic ball is exactly what we need, so we're watching closely how it develops. I went with a few amateurs from NM and we all agreed it SUCKED with the rubber ball and even with the hard plastic it sounded like crap and like was gonna break any minute, that front glass wall has to go.

Real jai alai is dying, only kept alive right now by Dania, as Miami looks like is desperately trying to fail. My hope is that courts like this will ignite spark in people's minds and exposure will bring the interest back to this great sport and in turn, maybe the frontons will benefit and get better attendance and handles and we can start enjoying real jai alai again. Gotta start developing fans with a good amateur base I would think, and that has been gone for a long time, only a few dozen people still play amateur here.



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