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Beaskoetxea heads Gernika school

"The Jai Alai is the best pediment of the twentieth century"
Gonzalo Beaskoetxea is the head of the basket school of the Jai Alai pediment in Gernika

AN INTERVIEW BY I. MOYANO - Saturday, April 7, 2018 - Updated at 06: 00h

Gonzalo Beaskoetxea
GERNIKA-LUMO - Any professional or fan of the tip basket will be enlightened when they hear about the Jai Alai pediment in Gernika. Considered as the Cathedral of the Ball by many, it is essential to visit it and at the same time soak a bit of the history of the sport. In this case, nobody better than Gonzalo Beaskoetxea, a former puntista and current Director of the Ball School of the same pediment, to uncover the secrets of this sports temple.

Removing the House of Meetings, is the most valuable thing that Gernika has

-So is. The neighbors feel very proud to have this emblematic pediment. And it is ours. Following the bombing of April 26, 1937 Gernika was left without a pediment, and in 1962 by popular subscription was able to build a new one. The neighbors, who took the actions, hired the famed architect Secundino Zuazo to design what was and is the best pediment of the twentieth century.

A kind of Casa Batlló in the heart of Gernika

-Exactly. In 1963 they inaugurated this revolutionary pediment of stone walls and floating balcony, and with air chambers on the court to breathe. The sensation of hitting the ball is impressive: when it hits the wall it seems to sing, and it can even be heard from afar. I can hardly believe that today architects are capable of making such a temple, not even with a chop.

Where does the name of Jai Alai come from?

-Sincerely, we have been documenting for years to find the origin. And it has not been until recently that we have managed to find out. This was named after the historic Jai Alai pediment of Donostia. When he got up, in the year 1887 in Ategorrieta, they chose to take verses from the fashionable poet Serafín Baroja. Nowadays they are two international words.

Many celebrities will have stepped on this pediment ...

-From presidents, kings or princes to film directors, actors, singers or painters. A great variety of artists have sat in these seats to watch matches of great professionals. Moreover, having reaped their careers in Miami, when the pelotaris returned home to play they attracted many familiar Hollywood faces, these being those who asked for autographs and photos of the athletes.

The pelotaris are the true ambassadors of Euskadi.

-So is. More than 5,000 Basque pelota players have crossed the pond to debut and consolidate our career in America since 1885. There is a lot of fans of the basket. However, here, the thing is very different. This discipline has never been recognized as it deserves and it is a precious game.

The Jai Alai is filled every Saturday.

-In the ball season that starts in July and ends in the last Monday of October is up. We have been filling the pediment for three years with many young people. Those who smoked cigars and drank gin and tonic were left behind. People come from Madrid, Barcelona, ​​Valencia or also from France to see the best pelotaris in the world: Americans, Brazilians, Mexicans, Indonesians or any other origin. You have to be very pelotari to play here.

Everyone who comes returns.

-New generations are getting hooked on the peak basket. Through social networks we attract many people. We encourage the atmosphere with DJs at the bar, affordable tickets, transferable membership cards and live music. What's more, we welcome fans with blues or country music. I must admit that more and more women are interested in the peak basket.

The Jai Alai is continuously active.

-We have the Ball School with more than 50 students of all ages. In addition, guided tours of the pelota court are organized, telling their story, a demonstration of the tip basket with the students, then we explain the rules of the game and at the end we invite visitors to try the basket. And believe me, everyone who comes, repeats.

deia article (en Español)


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