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PILOTA/PALA: Basque handball & racket sports

Pilota (Pelota) in its various forms is a more recent introduction into the pantheon of Basque traditional sports, and its popularity endures.   N.A.B.O. supports efforts in various clubs to maintain this sport tradition, including sponsoring an annual tournament.

Related links:   Handball history    Traditional Basque sports    Ikaspilota: Youth    
usapelota.com      Chino Pilota Besta

NABO Pilota Chairperson:  Evelyne Etcharren
Email: pierresautobody@sbcglobal.net 



Online streaming ballgames Saturday's 18-20:00 Euskadi time:  www.antena3.com/especiales/noticias/deportes/pelota

www.kanaldude.tv        Audio interview of pala

What is Basque pelota?


2012 NABO Baleen Women's championship

>Goma Andereak Bakersfield:  Iparraguirre/Friebel 35

Boise:  Ayarra/Ciganda 21

>Goma Bigarren Maila

Bakersfield:  Camou/Echeverria 35

San Francisco:  Pebet/Sorhondo 27

Baleen Andereak
(photo left)
Bakersfield:  Iparraguirre/Friebel 35

Boise:  Ayarra/Ciganda 30

>Goma class A
San Francisco (1st), Bakersfield 2nd

2012 NABO Pilota Champions
Edu Sarria & Jeremy Malone (Boise, ID)

2011 San Inazio Invitational (Boise, ID)

Paleta Gorma Final

1st Place (red):  Gabriel Dalia (SFBCC) & John Krakau (Boise)
2nd place (blue):  John Bidart (Bakersfield) & Candida Echeverria (Chino)

NABO Pilota Tournament results

Bakersfield / Vidaurreta & Recondo (35) v. San Francisco / Etchebehere & Irola (26)

Bakersfield / Camou & Petrissans (25) v. San Francisco / Falxa & Etchebehere (22)

Bakersfield / Iparraguirre & Friebal (35) v. Boise / Mansisador & Ciganda (15)

Bakerfield / Echeverria & Irey (35) v. Boise / Boyd & Boyd (17)

San Francisco / Zuburu (22) v. Chino / Camou (17)

Bakersfield / Iparraguirre & Freibal (35) v. Boise / Ciganda & Bilbao (15)

San Francisco / Indart & Dalia (35) v. Bakersfield / Goyeneche & Bidart (26)



Team NABO for the 2009 World Pilota Council Tournament
Esther Ciganda & Maite Iribarren-Gorrindo
La Plata and Bahia Blanca, Argentina

2009 NABO Championship results (San Francisco)
Paleta goma 1st division:  Iriartborde & Dalia (SFBCC)
Paleta goma 2nd division:  Urruty & Chiramberro (SFBCC)
Paleta goma womens:  Etcharren & Cuburu (SFBCC)
Paleta goma trebeak: ANdueza & Irola (SFBCC)
Baleen Andereak:  Etcharren & Bushmann (SFBCC)
Eskuz bakarka:  DeLuz (Chino)
Eskuz 1st division: DeLuz & Petrissans (Chino)
Eskuz 2nd division: Falxa & Etchebehere (SFBCC)

Fronton at the San Francisco Basque Cultural Center, host of the 2009 tournament.

2009 Elko National Basque Festival

There were two esku games played on the 4th & 5th of July during the Elko Festival.  Jeremy Malone (Boise) and Christophe Alfaro (San Francisco) played Xanti Alcelay (Boise) and Edu Sarria (Boise) on Saturday and won 40-25.  Alcelay/Alfaro played Malone/Sarria the next day and won 25-24. 

2008 World Pilota Council Trinket Championships
Santiago, Chile (September 2008

N.A.B.O. vs. Uruguay - Baleen

Alfio Casale, John Falxa, Gratien Etchebehere and Aitor Berrueta

N.A.B.O. vs. Argentina - Paleta Goma 

Aitor Berrueta (NABO rep.) with players Gratien Etchebehere, John Falxa and Alfio Casale

2008 Boise Paleta Invitational

Zorionak to Gabriel Dalia (SFBCC) and to Jason Rutherford (Boise Fronton Association) for winning the 2008 BOISE PALETA INVITATIONAL. They won against Marc Unhassobiscay (SFBCC) and Edu Sarria (BFA) 35-31.

Zorionak to Marianne Martinon (SFBCC) and Esther Cigandia (BFA) won an exhibition Baleen game against Evelyne Garat (SFBCC) and Anne Marie Mansisidor (BFA) 35-31.

Some of the participants in the 2008 Boise Paleta Invitational.

EQUIPMENT. Check out this web page, pilota equipment just a click away... http://www.fipv.net/eng/tienda/index.htm

Handball is an ancient game. The Maya tribes of pre-Columbian America and the ancient Greeks and Romans knew versions of the game. The Romans spread it throughout western Europe. In the area of modern-day France, a variation of the Romans’ game of pila emerged, and during the Middle Ages it became known as jeu de paume. Basque handball is a derivative of this game.

Andrea Navajero, a Venetian historian, traveled through the Basque Country in 1528 and commented on how all the males played this game. Indoor [courte paume] and outdoor [longue paume] versions endured into the 18th century, but following the French Revolution the games were nearly abandoned for being associated with royalty and nobility. Their popularity, however, endured in small circles. From the early outdoor version evolved our modern tennis; the indoor version meanwhile spawned English court tennis, and in the Basque Country it became the present manifestation of Basque handball. Despite its documented prevalence, it is odd that little is said of handball in Basque proverbs, old songs or family emblems. It is not because of prohibition; even priests could enjoy the game. Jonanes Lange commented in 1526 on his travels through Nafarroa [Navarre] that even priests were allowed to take part in what was soon becoming the national sport.

Originally played face-to-face, the introduction of more rapid rubber balls compelled a change in the game: returning the ball to a wall instead of over the net. Thus Basque handball was born. Three courts developed over time: the plaza laxoa or open court with only one wall at the front; the ezker pareta or left-wall court with one wall at the front and one on the players left and the trinketa or original court of the indoor form with four walls.

As the speed of the ball increased, so did the pain endured by the players who up to that time played with bare hands. This triggered the development of instruments with which to return the ball. Numerous variations emerged, including a wooden paddle or different sizes and weight [pala & paleta], different types of racquets [xare & frontenis], leather gloves [rebot & pasaka] and finally a curious glove and basket combination known as xistera or cesta that spawned jai-alai, remonte, rebote & joko garbi.

PALA:  www.eljuegodepala.com