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Yes! There are plenty of Politics

Politics are everywhere not just in Jai Alai. Any successful person in this country knows you have to play some politics to succeed. Jai Alai is no different. It’s not just about if you are best qualified but about who you know or how you can get your foot in the door. At that point in most cases it’s up to you to keep the job through potential, hustle attitude and eventually performance. The hardest part is getting your foot in the door. This applies to Jai Alai or the real world. This is the world we live in and such is life. It is out of our control.

Jai alai as a sport is a special case. Obviously it is not a “real world” job nor is it a team sport so being a good/great player does not help your team win nor does it help the business earn more revenue. Being good/great does not put “butts” in the seats as there is no marketing. Being good helps you not look like a fool on the court and win you some bonus money as a player. So it is a moot point to say it is not fair that one is not given a chance to play because he is good or a better player than some current pro. The real problem is not being able to get said foot in the door OR you have done something to piss somebody important off.

What is important in jai alai is not causing problems for management or other players. A player’s manager could care less what your talent level is as long as you show up every day, shut up and play and stay healthy. A good attitude can create a long career in this business.

I got my foot in the door by making contacts with IJAPA, doing business with them and when an opportunity came they got me in contact with Arra for a live tryout for short notice opening in Ocala. I got my foot in the door and did well enough in my tryout and earned my spot year after year up to 2003 through effort, hustle and a good attitude. I was also competitive enough to not look bad.

I was a “victim” of the 2004 lawsuit. I got cut to make room for the plaintiffs. BUT, I did not get cut because they were better than me. I got cut because I was injury prone at that time and my attitude was not great either. I would have probably been kept had it not been for the lawsuit but who knows. I was not bitter about it. I was self-aware enough to know that I was an asshole at that time and when it came time to make cuts and create a spot for these guys I made it easy for management to decide.

So yes, there are politics. I can see why someone talented or qualified may not be hired because their attitude sucks, are not a cultural fit or maybe they have a record. I can see why someone else may be given a chance because they are good friends with a reference or are a family member of a current employee. That’s how some get their foots in the door for a job they want/ This applies everywhere, corporate America, your local taco bell and even god forbid in our beloved sport/business of Jai Alai.


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