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Jai-Alai

Jai 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.

Jai-AlaiAbout 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.

The 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.

Jai-AlaiJai 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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