January 29, 2023
Chicago 12, Melborne City, USA

Euskal pilota: The Basque Country’s centuries-old ball games


I am fascinated by the rural beauty of the Basque Country of France, with its indomitable coastline and rolling green hills surrounded by red tile-roofed villages and white sheep clouds. Walking through these cities, I am always looking for a single wall, about 16 meters wide and 10 meters long. It is often pink, sometimes pale yellow, and the date on which it was placed is usually engraved on the front. It is possible, but not necessarily, that the upper part of the wall rises into an arch and is lined with a mesh fence.

Once I found the wall, it was more likely that I was near the town hall, with signs to mark it in two languages: “Town house “ Basque and “Town Hall “ In French. And next to the town hall, I’m sure you’ll find a stone church with a revered cemetery.

These trio buildings are so sacred to the locals that it is known as Trinity: The town hall, the church and the wall, called the Basque Plaza, Or Fronton In French. Communities gather here to watch and play a dozen different ball games that are known together Basque ballBasque Which means Basque, and Tell me Means certain types of balls, latex nuts wrapped in yarn, then covered with leather.

Developed in these mountains hundreds of years ago, the games (commonly known around the world as the Basque Pelota) are different from the hand pilots, where the ball is thrown and caught empty-handed. pala, A collection of games played with a wooden paddle or a cord-strong racket. In the age of football statues and video games, it’s a testament to the power of Basque culture that plazas are still busy spending time with players on any Sunday afternoon, when enthusiastic friends, family and fans watch from the sidelines.

These wall sports are generally considered to be descendants Palm game, A 17th-century sport that originated in France and is a direct ancestor of tennis, squash and racquetball. Today they are played all over the world, thanks to most of the Basque entrepreneurs who exported a game, Tip baskets, In Florida in the 1920s. They rebranded it as “Joy Alai”, meaning “joyous celebration”, and it stimulated the tendency to bet with an international following.


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