Traditional sports and wise hands, Part 1

Beautiful Costa Blanca is not only home to tourist resorts, but dotted with  small villages where cobblestoned streets lead through charming  whitewashed old towns:

Altea street

Altea street

Just after the summer heat recedes pelota, a centennial sport,  fills them with life. I have been chasing some of the matches and finally got to understand a bit more about it: two teams, the pitch a street and all architectural features take part in the game, the ball bouncing from facades,  window sills and landing on roofs.  A ball that sure hurts when a soft-handed photographer dares giving it a try, here is what  true experts do to withstand two hours of hitting a stone hard leather ball:

Wrapping hands with a protective bandage

Wrapping hands with a protective bandage

Rugged hand waiting for the ball

Rugged hand waiting for the ball

Another version of the leather protection

Another version of the leather protection

Action ensues and the first hard serves have the ball swishing up and down the street.  Jesús lets me stand on his balcony, so I get some nice high angle shots:

Serving

Serving

Red against blue

Red against blue

The balls

The balls

A small crowd gathers to watch the local team play the neighboring village, cheering their lads and puffing on cigars. Some even bring their own chair:

Action with the local supporters watching

Action with the local supporters watching

Watching the local team serving

Watching the local team serving

No fancy devices here, no electronics, no game stats  but a traditional scoreboard with someone in charge of the updates:

Traditional scoreboard

Traditional scoreboard

A fun afternoon where old and young team up to preserve a traditional sport that  will hopefully stay alive for generations to come.  One of the players introduced me to Angel, a retired factory worker who handcrafts traditional leather balls, as we will see in  part 2.

Photos of pelota matches and the artisan can be foun HERE.

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About Olaf Speier

Hello, thanks for taking a look ! When I am not traveling somewhere or into some art project, I devote my time to stock photography. This blog intends to give an insight into my current stock projects.
This entry was posted in Costa Blanca, crafts, sports and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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