Saturday, July 26, 2008

Basque Pala

This note comes to us from Boise where the Basque festival is taking place, here it is:

Basque pala takes agility, strength

The cousin of racquetball is a centerpiece of the San Inazio Festival

Tucked behind a law office and Bar Gernika in the Basque Block is a spacious warehouse you might expect to be associated the phrase "back-room deal."

Instead, during the Basque community's San Inazio Festival this weekend there will be a mix of raw power and refined agility encapsulated in pala, a sport from the Basque country.

Think doubles racquetball, but with the wall on the right side replaced with an out-of-bounds line. Replace the racquet with a wooden paddle and a hollow rubber ball with a solid rubber ball. That's pretty much pala.

Spectators sit on narrow bleachers near the court's right boundary line, close enough to the ball zipping back and forth to keep you on your toes.

Watching athletes who are built more like football players than tennis players dart, leap and lunge around a court 36 meters deep is a unique experience.

On Friday a series of matches - they play games to 35 points, which takes about 45 minutes - were held with players from a San Francisco club mixed in with local athletes.

On Saturday, the Boise and San Francisco will meet for the tournament finals at 4p .m.

Other festivities begin at 11 a.m. Saturday, including music, dance groups, band, weight lifting and a tug-of-war between Boise and Meridian police. On Sunday, there is a street dance from 7 to 11 p.m.

Source : Idaho Statesman

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