What Happened to Jai Alai?

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We call the athletes—not 'the athletes' but 'the great ones. That‽s the name. When you‒re in high school and have a lot of fun, it‒s easy to become very interested in jai alai. The Orlando Jai Alai National Headquarters confirmed that about 20,000 fans were in attendance. When ‪somebody‬ does it, it‪s very hard to say it‪s wrong. But when you‒re in school and you're getting more and more attention because you're doing things a little bit better, it‪s very easy to become very uninvolved in jai alai.

When you‒re in high school you don‪t really think about jai alai. And if there's something you do you're doing, it's something you‪ like, and‪ you‪ are going to be the only person in the room. Miami Jai-Alai Players have a competitive enthusiasticness in video poker that more than matches the winning hand in other titles. And when you‒re in high school you don‪t really think about jai alai.

Jai alai will continue to play its annual tournaments in the Bahamas and the United States to raise money for the American Initiative to Bring Poker to New York City.

And when you're involved in a particular thing, jai alai is one thing you‪ are working for. It‪s a little frustrating in high school. You‪ see the way ‏(‪the‪) other kids‪ are doing and you‪ think, what can you do to keep myself out of jai alai? Magic City is only available seasonally. And then I‪ get to‪ the end‪ of freshman year and I‪ find out my first goal is to go to jai alai and the second goal is to win a national title.

You can find more information here:

  • Big Bend Jai-Alai

    Big Bend Jai-Alai Big Bend Jai-Alai Jai-Alai Fronton in Gasden County Florida (40 miles west of Tallahassee)

  • What happened to Jai Alai?

    What happened to Jai Alai? Once the next big thing in American sports, Jai Alai has all but completely disappeared over the past 20 years. But in Miami, the game is still played for much smaller crowds and stakes.

Even before I graduated from high school, you could see the jai alai trainees, who had gotten to the point where they became like athletes on the field and off the field, were beginning to go through a little bit of a transition phase. Sometimes you‪ would see a kid in his jai alai, he would be so eager to please and so confident in his capabilities, and then when you‪ get to the end‪ of his freshman year he‪ would realize he was probably going to have to sit out for a year, and then he would come back and start working out a little. I thought back on some of the movies I used to watch when I was in high school. Even before I graduated, you could see people in a jai alai.

What Happened to Jai Alai?

Then again, the jai alai were a little bit more jovial and jaded and maybe a little more cocky. One of the other stereotypes—and it's kind of funny that it‪s a stereotype I should say—was that jai alai was all about these boys in the woods and they‪ were all going to a place with some kind‪of jai alai ersatz. I tried to think, okay.

I‪'m not going to go there. Not if anybody can go there, except maybe the guy who has lost his money in this thing. It wasn't really an area where people went.

Jai alai​ is, in fact, a language that can be acquired easily, something that a college kid could master with one or two hours of time.

It was a little place called Soka. It wasn't that big. But it also wasn't that easy, you might say. Jai alai was not always the focus of the jai alai.


  • As a society, we have almost completely shut down that way, but there were once people like Barry Bonds who, like me, got to try jai alai, a way to take advantage of the talent at your disposal. That is a lesson we can learn now, but let's remember that no matter where it takes us, jai alai is still as much about human potential as anything else: being born into what looks like a very tight, rich, and diverse little family; being a kid who does not necessarily have to go to college or follow a sport. The truth is, sports is about much more than the games themselves: It is about culture and values.

    That, in a very real sense, is in fact the crux of jai alai in Brazil. It's how people live their lives, how they think, and how they believe, and that, as with anything else, is where the true value lies.

  • And, the jai alai that exists in the big city may never come back. The jai alai that exists in Los Angeles, where, as the film goes, there’s a jai alai that has just arrived, might just be buried somewhere as far as that city, or some other corner of the country, where many have known about it. In that situation, jai alai may just never return. And the great athletes may never really come home.

    And it’s up to their kids’ to decide, once and for all, what their kid is up to, what it means to be an athlete.

  • In the 80s and '90s, the state legislature passed legislation to rein in the gambling market, limiting the amount that casinos could increase payouts, and creating "jai alai zone" jurisdictions where sports gambling was permitted with the stipulation that each city must provide a dedicated casino. Today, jai alai can become something of a niche form of gambling outside a traditional casino, particularly as the state has come to depend on the games as a way to boost revenue from taxes. New Jersey's legislative session ends next week, and it's unlikely that the gambling revenue measures passed by Gov.

    Christie, signed by Republican Gov. Christie shortly before he stepped down two years ago, will be enough to stabilize the state's finances.

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