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Ball: The beauty of the ‘euskal pilota’ according to the BBC

“I am dazzled by the beauty of the Basque-French coast. Walking through these towns there is always a repeating image: a great wall 16 meters wide and 10 meters high with the year in which it was built inscribed on the top. It’s about the pediments.” This is how the latest report by Sylvia Sabes, a Franco-American journalist for the BBC, begins, in which she explained to the American continent what baseball is like and how deeply rooted this sport is in Basque culture.

«The pediment is more than a wall. It is the center of town. The point where all the people gather. The journalist, during her journey through the towns of the coast, advances that ‘wall’, it is the center of union between the town and the sport. “In an era full of soccer idols and video games, the squares continue to fill on Sundays with family and friends who occupy the stands to watch others compete.”

The ball is one of the most deeply rooted elements in Basque culture. To such an extent that wherever they have gone, the pediment has been one of the traditions that have traveled with them. «This sport of the seventeenth century is the predecessor of others such as tennis, squash or racquetball. To this day, Basque sports such as basket punta are still played outside the Basque Country. For example, he arrived in Florida in 1920 », he explains.

The fronton in the center of Azkaine. /

Txakel

In fact, the American lands are still one of the points where this sport is still played. At one point in the report, Sylvia points out that she will soon meet Patxi Tambourindeguy, who together with her brother Jon have established themselves as world champions in the basket point in Cuba, Acapulco and Miami.

A Guinness record deporte

And it is precisely the punta basket is one of the sports that is practiced in the frontons that has most attracted the attention of the journalist in this report published by the BBC. “It is played with a thin basket that curves like a hook. Players catch the ball with these baskets and throw it hard against the wall. In fact, this sport has the Guinness World Record for a ball that hit the wall at 302 kilometers per hour.

But beyond the complexity of the sport or the high speeds that the balls reach, Sylvia points out that the baskets are still a product that is made manually. “Peio Gonzalez -one of the locals interviewed by the journalist- belongs to the fourth of the five generations dedicated to making baskets.” The art and skill with which Peio created the instrument surprised Sylvia, but she was even more surprised when Bixente Gonzalez, his son, also wanted to inherit the family profession. “Right now he is at the fronton practicing to enter the professional circuit,” says the journalist.

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