What happened to Jai Alai? Echoes of a dying game

Discussion in 'Sports Zone' started by Phoenix, Sep 19, 2013.

  1. Phoenix

    Phoenix Well-Known Member

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    I remember seeing Jai Alai in the opening sequence of "Miami Vice" years ago but that was really ever my only "exposure" to the sport.

    Long, fascinating read I thought and speculates how what is happening to Jai Alai in this day & age might portend similar fates awaiting current sports - even football.

    Looking at the rows and rows of seats, you can imagine a different time. There were thousands of people every night, men in dark suits and hats packed shoulder to shoulder. They’d be waving programs, downing brown booze, smoking cigarettes from cigarette cases or, better still, puffing thick cigars that would fill the room with pungent smoke and give the air just below the giant ceiling lights a ghostly blue haze. As the men on the court used oblong baskets to hurl a goatskin ball over and over against a granite wall, the men in the crowd would be hollering and belly laughing and slapping each other on the back. There was a time when the audience at the Miami Jai Alai fronton was so loud, the players on the court could barely hear their own thoughts.

    Jai alai used to be a very popular spectator sport in this country. Presidents watched jai alai with their wives.

    It’s not impossible to imagine someone looking back a few generations from now on the hordes of drunken, screaming fans who fill up Cowboys Stadium the same way we see those old jai alai patrons.

    Through the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s, and even into the early ’80s, business boomed.
  2. Future

    Future Intramural Legend

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    I always thought that it was gambling and corruption that killed Jai Alai...even though it never stood a chance as more than a niche sport anyways.
  3. BigDGarciaFan

    BigDGarciaFan Active Member

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    how can one gamble on Jai Alai?

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