Jai-Alai Essay, Research Paper
Jai alai means merry festival in the Basque language. It is known for the name Pelota (ball) in Spain. A dispute exists where as to where the game originated. Some people think that Hernando Cortez learned that early Aztecs had played it long before he invaded Mexico and that he carried the idea back to Andalusia, Spain. Other historians say jai alai is just a game of handball, with variations supplied by the Basques. They started with the bare hand, progressed to a flat bat, a short basket, and finally to the long curved wicker basket or cesta.
The ball in Jai alai is harder then a golf-ball and is approximately + the size of a baseball. It has been clocked at faster then 150 miles per hour. This makes the movement of the jai Alai ball the fastest of any ball in any sport. It is constructed of virgin de para rubber from Brazil. It is hand wound by a process takes many hours.
The basket or cesta has a glove on top. Each player has his preference to the size of the basket. It has a chestnut frame and ribs and reeds used to weave it into a permanent durable shape.
The rules of Jai alai are simple. The server must bounce the ball once on the service line. Then he scoops up the ball as it bounces and flings it to the other team. The ball must hit and bounce off the other teams wall. Then the other team must catch and throw the ball back in one motion. The game goes on until one of the teams drops the ball. Then the other team gets a point. The game goes on until one team gets 7.
Gambling and jai-alai go hand in hand. Florida legalized pari-mutuel betting on the sport in 1934, eight years after the first U.S. fronton had been built in Miami. Jai alai joined greyhound and horse racing as ways to wager while in the Sunshine State. In Jai Alai, the public can place bets on who they think will come in first (win), second (place), and third (show).
pelotari – a jai-alai player
cestero – maker and repairer of cestas
delantero – frontcourt player
zaguerro – backcourt player
cinta – string/binding used to tie the cesta to the hand
cancha – the jai-alai court
faja – colored sash worn around the waste
casco – helmet
pasa – overserve
saque – serve
remate – any killshot (see the section on technique for more terms on the various shots)
partido – long games played between two players or teams to about 35 points in which betting takes place not only on the outcome of the game but also for every point….carom shots can also be used on the serve
quiniela – games usually composed of 8 teams or players in which play proceeds in a round-robin fashion until someone scores 7 or 9 points
costillas – ribs of the cesta
derecha – when the ball is thrown from the right side
reves – backhand
contra-cancha – wooded part of the canch next to the net
frontis – front wall
pelota muerta – dead ball
pelota usada – used ball
pelota viva – lively ball
rebote – the back wall
Terms used to talk to teammates
abrete! – go to the outside!
adentro!- throw the ball to the inside!
aire! – catch it in the air before it bounces!
ariba! – throw the ball high!
corta! – throw a cortada shot!
deja!- let it go (out of bounds)!
dos! – throw a carom shot or open up for one!
entra! – get it…..i am out of place!
estoy! – i am in a good spot for the ball!
los dos! – if it is too hard for you then i am ready!
mucho! – good catch….or good shot!
pasale! – throw over the frontcourt man!
pica! – throw a picada shot!
sale! – the rebote will come out far!
tirale! – kill it!
va! – let me have it!
ven! – come behind me!
voy! – let me have it!
voy sino! – if it is hard for you, i am ready!
Types of Shots
Remate: Any type of kill shot
Chula: The ball hits the back wall near the floor and comes out without a bounce.
Chic-chac: The ball hits the floor near the back wall and then bounces up the wall and straight down to the floor.
Rebote: The ball is returned off of the back wall with either the forehand or the backhand. Players will often fall down or climb the walls for these shots.
Carom (Dos Paredes): The ball is thrown to the side wall, the front wall, and the court before heading toward the screen.
Cortada: This is a low shot thrown with much force which hits just above the bottom line resulting in a low fast bounce.
Dejada: This is a short lob which hits just above the bottom line and is used to change the pace of the game. Good if you catch your opponent near the back of the court.
Carambola: Thrown from outside the court and hits the front wall, side wall, and court with great spin. It is difficult to return.
Bote Pronto: A ball which is caught right after it bounces. Difficult to do.
Arrimada: A ball which stays close to the side wall. Difficult to attack from.
Costado: This is a backhand thrown from shoulder level or higher.
Picada: A ball thrown overhanded with great wrist action that comes off of the front wall with a very high bounce.
Al Ancho: Ball thrown toward the outside.
Bote Corrido: The ball is caught at shoulder level or higher as it ascends from the bounce.
Paredon: The ball comes far out from the back wall.
Derecha: Ball thrown from the right side.
Reves: Backhand (reverse).