My first visit to a jai-alai fronton came during Labor Day weekend 1987, when I went to Milford Jai Alai with a couple of family friends -- I enjoyed the sporting side of the game, as well as the statistical and handicapping aspect. I found it an interesting way to spend a few hours. I believe I became a true devotee of the sport in February 1988, when I saw Hartford Jai-Alai action for the first time, on a Saturday night in front of a packed house. Sadly, it would be the only time I saw many of those Hartford stars as the strike hit shortly thereafter.
I have to say I was fortunate to see as much jai-alai as I did. I grew up in Stratford, CT, which is sandwiched between Bridgeport and Milford. I also went to college in Hartford, and was even lucky enough to have a brother (Chalkie Steve in RI) in college in Rhode Island. I've seen many games over the past 18 years, and have visited a total of 10 frontons in all (I thought the nicest one was West Palm Beach.) I watch online when time permits, as well as an occasional trip to Sports Haven or Shoreline Star, but it isn't the same as live jai alai. I try get to Florida at least once a year.
In December, 1988, I tried playing jai alai for the first time. I spent a lot of time in college practicing off of dorm walls, and was a regular at the amateur fronton in Milford. From 1993 to 1998, I played in regular rubber-ball (court 2) leagues, and occasionally after that as well while I attended graduate school. I was amazingly able to win several trophies and even one very small tournament in my amateur career. I saw that as amazing, because I am a rather mediocre player. My two top skills were a rebote carom, and the uncanny ability to show up every week. Believe me, I'm not future Hamilton material, as I could barely hit the front wall when I practiced at Orlando Jai Alai in years past. On July 4, 1994, the New Haven Register ran a front sports page article about the amateur facility, which included a rather unflattering action picture of me! I guess that's my 15 minutes of fame. I will say I miss playing competitively far more than actually attending jai alai.
These days, I don't get to watch as much jai-alai as I want, but that's OK. I have realized my dream of teaching as I teach college Business, Marketing and Economics classes both live and online.
Dan is the proud father of a little boy named
Darren, who was born July 19. That's him
when he was only a couple of days old.
The latest specs on Darren have him at
14 pounds and 27 inches long already.
He might end up as a backcourtman
instead of a frontcourtman.
At the 2003 Florida Cup
with brother (Steve in RI)
and Larry Blitz