By Loren Harris
In the spring of 1984 I was working and practicing at Dania Jai Alai, and also playing in the World Jai Alai school in North Miami. It was a busy schedule but something that was a joy to live. It was a quest to try to make it to play at the Professional Level.
That spring after a practice at Dania, I had a short discussion with Dania Players manager Fernando Orbea, and the Dania sponsored Barcelona Fronton was going to need players as many off their roster were coming to Dania to play the summer season to augment the roster as many of the established pelotaris travelled to play in Milford in the summer.
I was offered a spot on the Barcelona Roster to debut and get much needed experience and Partido play to try to improve my game. I liked to travel and this adventure to go to Europe was very interesting and exciting. My good friend, Dania star player Jandro, was kind enough to help me get settled as he is from Barcelona and give me some insight on living out of the USA for the first time. The first time going to the Fronton Principal Palacio on the famed Las Ramblas was a big thrill. I was welcomed by many of the Dania players I knew that were playing in Barcelona prior to leaving back for the Dania Summer season.
This was also my first time trying to really speak and learn Spanish . The mix of Catalan that many of the locals speak as their primary language was a little challenging. After 2 days of practicing I played my first Partido. The interesting thing that occurred was the players manager Urqiaga came out with a piece of chalk and drew a line at the 12 line to serve. I had never seen this before so I was shocked when he drew an A on the 12 line meaning the Azul team served from there. Luckily we got thru it without that much diificulty. Luckily we won the Partido then I remember coming to my locker and after showering to get dressed the pranksters filled my shoes with with shaving cream to welcome me to the roster.
What a great day in May, 1984 that was and an honor and privilege to live out a dream!