alai is a court game in which players use a long hand-shaped
wickerwork racket called "cesta" to
propel a ball against a wall. Each player''s cesta is specially
hand-woven for him.
four centuries ago, in the Basque area of Spain's Pyrenees
Mountains, a game called "Pelota Vasca" or Basque
Ball developed. This simple game involved throwing a ball
into old church walls. This game was often played at local
festivals or ''fiestas'' and were called Jai-Alai (Merry
Festival). The sport has changed very little since it originated
about 400 years ago. It has always been known for its fast
pace and exciting tournaments. The ball, or "pelota",
has been clocked at speeds of over 180 mph.
first indoor fronton was built in 1798 in Marquena, Spain
while the the first jai-alai fronton in the United States
was built in Hialeah, Florida in 1926. A jai-alai court
is called a cancha. It has three walls that are made out
of granite as granite is the only material that can withstand
the impact of the pelota.
alai players don''t use their full names as their playing
name. They typically use only one name as their playing
names. Usually, they shorten their own name, use their
mother''s maiden name, or choose a name based on the town
they are from. So if a player''s name is Daniel Santos Francisco,
he could use "Daniel", "Santos" or "Francisco" as
his playing name.
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