What Happened to Jai Alai? (2013)

Once a popular spectator sport in the United States, jai alai is now a dying sport. The Miami Jai Alai fronton, once bustling with lively crowds, now sits empty as more people choose to gamble in the freshly renovated casino. Leon Shepard, the only American-born player left on the Miami Jai Alai roster, reminisces about the good old days when presidents would watch the game with their wives and Ernest Hemingway would hang out with jai alai players. Jai alai itself is a fast-paced game that originated in France and Spain hundreds of years ago. Shepard, who used to play baseball, discovered jai alai by chance and has been playing professionally for 21 years. However, attendance and interest in the sport have slowly declined over the years, and Shepard can’t help but feel that jai alai may be a thing of the past, just like the rowdy, enthusiastic crowds of yesteryears.


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