Alan Shapiro of Gainesville, Florida had this comment about amateur jai alai:

I played amateur jai-alai in high school and my early college years with my brother Harold and friends at frontons in North Miami and South Miami. Mostly we used the hard rubber balls on a smaller court, but occasionally we volleyed with the goat-skin covered “rock” on the long courts. Fun, but extremely dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing, since the ball is caroming off walls at more than 120 miles per hour. According to Google, highest recorded speed for a throw by a professional is 188 mph.

We even owned our own cestas (Basque for baskets). You could buy them at Miami Jai-Alai Fronton fairly cheaply from professionals who tired of their cestas like today’s athletes might switch out gloves or bats or sneakers after only a few uses. All the pros had court names, and all the names were Hispanic, ending in vowels like Valentino or Aramayo. A talented American we knew was the first to break the Basque barrier and become a pro in Miami. His “stage” name incongruously was Joey and he was much taller than his competitors. This helps a lot in jai-alai, just as it does in our American sports.

We often finished the evening with eating contests at Fun Fair on the 79th Street Causeway (in Miami Beach), replenishing lost calories with pizza burgers, kosher hot dogs steamed in beer, and fried onion rings. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. I sure wish they hadn’t torn that place down.

Here is a comment by Rudy Kellerman:

Just a small correction. Miami Jai Alai Fronton is still standing and so is Dania Jai Alai in Dania, Fl just 20 milies north of Miami. Jai Alai can is played there most of the year even though the crowds are not what they used to be but still as exciting as they were then. Still, most of the players come from the Basque country although there are some Mexicans and Philipinos were the game is also popular.

As far as the hot dogs steamed in beer…the best. They were introduced by a restaurant chain called Lums. This was a very popular venue in Miami Beach. It was your typical neighborhood bar. Unfortunately it went out of business many years ago.

A comment from Michael:

2011/11/14 at 10:52 AM

And the original Lumdog on 41st St just over the bridge from Nautilus Jr High. And only a few blocks down the road from Burger King #1 with the original “have it your way”, and 60 second service guaranteed..I remember it well.