Automatically translated from Basque, translation may contain errors. More information here. Elhuyarren itzultzaile automatikoaren logoa

"I'd like people to get into the fronton and also see the female atmosphere in the top basket, not just the boys'."

  • While a very young girl, her father took the top cart to college in Markina. As soon as he saw the spectacular game, his eyes cleared, they made him a little. In the pediment that began to create the opportunity, Ezkurdin of Durango takes half life, in one hand basket, the school books in the other...Even as a very young girl, her father brought the top cart to university in Markina. As soon as he saw the spectacular game, his eyes cleared, they made him a little. In the pediment that began with possibility, Ezkurdin of Durango has half life, in one hand basket, in the other school books...
Argazkia: Zaldi Ero / ARGIA CC BY-SA
Argazkia: Zaldi Ero / ARGIA CC BY-SA
Helena Barrenetxea Fernández. Durango, 2007

Compulsory Secondary Education ended the previous year and this year will begin studying the first high school year. Besides being a student, he's a putsman. At the age of eight, she began to study for a ball at the Azkarate Parents and Children School in Durango, where she is married almost every day. Today, his professional status as a pelotari is impracticable and, meanwhile, along with the realization of his studies, he adapts very well to writing, as demonstrated by the literary awards Julene Azpeitia and Bizente Zabala, or the poem Zesta punta, which can be read at the end of the interview.

What do we have in Durango, Helena? From Tabira to the fronton Ezkurdi half a kilometer, and I have not heard any words in Basque until I entered the fronton… In
Durango you do not hear in Basque. On the street, at least, no. That's right here. And at school, same. We learn Basque, but we talk… When the professor is in front, in Basque, but when he is not, everything in Spanish. On the fronton yes, here we are in Basque. However, what he teaches us in the ball does not know Euskera, but among us, among the pelotaris, we do so in Euskera. But here, Ezkurdin, we are not many pelotaris: the little ones, half a dozen or even, those around sixteen years old, about four – I am entering – the others are people over forty years old. And they're all boys, except me. In Durango, I'm the only puppy puppy girl. And when it comes to training, I play against guys, forty years old.

I've seen you playing online. You're fine...
We're learning, but at first I didn't see the ball... My parents are from Markina and my hobby for the spike basket comes from Markina. We live in Durango, but my father and mother in Markina, and at school we had a holiday -- but parents had work -- parents took us to Markina, my parents' house. My father has a rock on the pediment, many of his friends have been pelotaris and that day he took me and took me to the pediment. They were playing the game and we were watching. And I saw it, and I really liked it. “I have to try this,” I said. And the other day, when I was in Durango's school, there came a guy talking about after-school activities, and he said there was a spike basket school in Durango. And I went home and told my father that I wanted to learn how to play the basket. And because he's Markina, my father knows what the ball is and what the basket is, and yes, and I signed up.

You said it easily.
Yes, I said it easily, but first they told me it was better to play with the shovel, that there were a group of girls playing with the shovel and that it was better. But I didn't want to play with the shovel, I had no doubt, I wanted the tip basket. And I came to fronton Ezkurdi, and I started learning the ciesta. And here I am. But I told him, at first I didn't see the ball, and I took it, threw it and didn't give it to the previous wall. But I liked nothing else to see play, it was a different sport.

Photo: Crazy Horse / LUZ CC BY-SA

And how have you learned to the tip basket? Let's put the ball in and throw it to the front wall, and we dribble, and so many tricks? The tip basket is a high-speed game.

How have I learned? Hours and hours included! I've spent hours trying to get the ball in, and after I put it in, trying to throw it to the wall... I've put all the hours I want! Just put yourself in the back of the pediment, throw the ball against the wall and try to turn it on. And try it and try it. This is how you learn and I have learned it. In a one-hour training, I've also played 500 pelotazos! But there's no other way to learn that I know. I started when I was eight, I had half a life in ball, and I could learn something!

Something else. This is where we saw you in spring at the Winter Series. You have competition... The
football federation organizes the league, in which it plays as in other sports. We have the league, yes, but in our case, because we are few pelotaris, soon our league ends. So, either at the patron's parties, or in the tournaments organized by the town's ball-schools, in Markina, in Durango, in Berriatun, in Zumaia, in Tolosa… I tell you, we are few. We who participate in the championships are thirteen. There are more girls who train, but they don't want to play a tournament, they think they're not ready enough. So we always play those thirteen. The truth is, we're always bored facing each other.

Yes, we are always the same rivals. We know each other well, I mean the game of the other, the strengths of one and the weaknesses of the other. We would need new rivals, but nobody appears. I want more girls to play in the top basket. To start with, there are more boys, more people playing in the top basket, but above all more girls. It’s important for girls to see that we can practice this sport… Our mother says that when she was young, in Markina, she didn’t even enter the pediment, nor give in, because the cart was not the girls’ game. They didn't let him be looking across the net on the fronton! There are many prejudices to be overcome. What girls can't play? I play, then, and I am a girl!

"I think girls have more skill than boys, but the force is them, and in the pediment the force is noticeable"

And with you, and against you, other girls. What are your toughest rivals?
Erika Mugartegi and Arai Lejardi, I would say. Maite Ortiz de Mendibil is one of the world's champions, it's one of the best, but [Erika] Mugartegi is awesome, among us, jokingly, we say it's a robot: take all the balls, put them all without mistake. And take the ball back, once and twice back, until the opponent gets tired. That's his game: upset the adversary. And, on the contrary, you tap the punchline and pick it up! None fails. And throw away the left and pick it up. And reject the tenth painting and take it! That's Mugartegi.

I've been with Eneritz
Lizardi and
Maialen Aldazabal, and they're both very good. The good thing about teachers is, for example, that it helps us a lot to the foremen. It speaks to us a lot, it bothers us if any drop fails.

Photograph transferred.

Although the players are more, in this Ezkurdi of Durango you are the only girl playing pumpkin...
And I have to train with older people, and I also play against the kids, but not against my older ones, but against the younger ones. I can't play against a kid my age because the force I have isn't me. I cannot give the ball the speed it gives it! Another thing is skill, which depends on people. And sometimes it seems to me that girls have more skill than boys, but they have more strength, and in the pediment you can see force, force means a lot, it means speed to the ball, and in that there is no comparison between boys and girls. However, if we played in a spike basket, but with a tennis ball, I think many girls would win many boys.

"We want society to give the importance it needs to girls' sport, that it is spectacular, that people know that girls also play in the top basket, that we can play, that we have the level to do a good demonstration…"

As you mentioned strength and dexterity, how do you combine them?
When I started the ball, I had no strength, so I had to always act in front. I put myself in the fourth painting, same, and you can't take the ball to the eighth! And on the other hand, our teachers, the Azkarate teachers, are old foremen. And they told me to stand in front. I also played the first match to the striker and I liked it, and since then I have been playing in front. Of course, now I have more strength than then, but on the right arm. Always playing with the right, I have muscular tissue, and on the left a little glitch, poor.

It is the responsibility of the striker to end the many… What is needed for it?
To end the drop? Courage and vision. If you don't have it, you can't be forward. The striker has to end the drop, he has to have that skill, and I have it. I've learned. They've taught me, I've understood how to flip, I've caught the way. If not, hitting the ball and hitting it, always backwards and always backwards, there are not so many. If your game is to keep it always behind, you better play the hat. At first I said: “Uf, I don’t know if I’ll get it right!” Or I thought, “What if it doesn’t work?” You also have to have courage: if you are afraid to end the drop, you cannot be the striker. You have to take the step: or crop, or leave it, or mural…

You’re a putsman, you’re studying high school… You’d like to be a professional athlete…
All athletes want to be professionals, they want to do the sport they do. In our case, it is not yet possible, we are ten players, we are young, we are studying. So, in the meantime, we want society to give the importance it needs to girls’ sport, to be spectacular, for people to know that girls also play in the top basket, that we can play, that we have the level of doing a good demonstration… My dream is not that I become professional, but that I let it be a relief when I make the top cart. I would like young girls – I mean that they are younger than I am – to play, that many more girls will play in the spike basket than now – Ezkurdin, above all, because I am alone – that people will enter the fronton and also see in the spike basket an atmosphere of girls, not just boys.

As for dedication, few give as many hours as you do…
I spend days on the pediment! Here I am Tuesday and Thursday, all day! Finish school at 16:30, catch my brother, who is also learning ball, and on the pediment at 16:45 until 21:00. One teaching the little ones and the other training me. I always on the fronton!

* * * * * * *

Teaching to learn
“Roberto and Asier Azkarate are our parents and children. They are Durangueses and were players of the top basket, Rober [Azkarate], was also in America, and from there came the basket teachers punta.Yo I started studying in ball with them, and now I also help them, because they teach it to the small pelotaris. And teaching I learn a lot: I learn more by teaching than by training alone."

“I’m seeing current professional players, Goiko-eta [Iñaki Osa Goikoetxea]… But I’m not going to say favorites, because I know myself a lot. I would, however, like to look like Aritz Erkiaga and Goikoa. I'm a forward and they're the best foremen, the best of now and the best of ten years ago. I follow their model, I want to do what they do.”


Tip basket

For you, for me a sport, for me
passion For me the culture, for me the joy The pediment for you, for me the second house For you the couple, for me the couple For you the ball, for me the force For you the white, for me the elegance For me the school of basket, for my second family The cart, for me the best friend For me it is

30 so, for me the life is

It is not easy to find a pediment of these characteristics, with a tremendous history, now unfortunately olvidado.No it is easy to find a school of this kind, a teacher who was profesional.No it is easy to find people so from day

to day it becomes
your family.
It's not easy to find such an essay
to enjoy playing between joys and laughter.

Durango Cart Punta Eskola,
it is not easy to find more.

(Written by Helena Barrenetxea Fernández to the mayor of Durango in 2021 requesting a dignified pediment. A year later it was renovated and Barrenetxea made the first saque)

Photograph transferred.



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