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

Win and lose

  • Since we are young we live the competition in this society: as a child in children's games, as an adult in all areas of life (sometimes we consciously accept playing and sometimes we fall involuntarily into competitive dynamics). Perhaps that is why sportsmen and women are the main symbol of the success of this society (although society only honours them in the days they win). We decided to keep up the challenge of competition and look in the eye at the key: win and lose. What is winning? What to lose? How should we pay attention to live competitively? Red or blue, lose or win: no draw for the pelotaris. Jokin Altuna and Iñaki Artola, who are going to turn ten years as professionals, tell us what they have learned from the game. We met in the Beotibar de Tolosa pediment.
Jokin Altuna eta Iñaki Artola Tolosako Beotibar pilotalekuan. Argazkia: Dani Blanco / ARGIA-CC-BY-SA
Jokin Altuna eta Iñaki Artola Tolosako Beotibar pilotalekuan. Argazkia: Dani Blanco / ARGIA-CC-BY-SA

What does the marker indicate at the end of the consignment?

JOKIN ALTUNA: Whether or not it was better than the opposite.

IÑAKI ARTOLA: Who's been more that day with those balls, that pediment -- under those conditions.

Do society and the athlete add elements not directly related to profit and loss?

J. ALTUNA: I think so. Society and us too. When we started, what's more, society has shown us this since we were young. Then we learn, we see things differently. The arrival at the podium in some sports extends as a huge achievement. On the other hand, in the ball and in other sports, the winner is given a great impact and the other is not. Work and appraisals should not be based on the scoreboard, but great frustrations arise.

I. ARTOLA: The dimension that society gives to some sports is surprising. I remember once I went to San Mamés: before the game the football field was very dark, and what show was music, lights, screams of people... When the lights were on and the judge sounded the whistle to start the match, my feeling was: “Was this all for this?” The last reality was whether or not Iker Muniain touched the barrier, like whether or not we hit the plate.

We, too, feel the focus on sport and the biggest risk we have for athletes is that we too have just believed that or that it affects us a lot. When we win, we can feel like a small god, but when we lose the opposite, we lose it. We can lose perspective on what sport is. People who don't make it so public will have to spend it there, without receiving much recognition. We, when we do something right, it's amazing, when we go out into the street the next day everything is praise, but the other is the same. Our intent is to take the distance.

Illustration: Shu Otero.

Who is afraid of losing, what do you fear?

J. ALTUNA: Some questions are very simple and difficult to answer. What are we afraid of? I don't know, we see that the rival is getting closer and closer to 22, and when you've set a goal and you've prepared so much for the competition, your head turns to see if the tournament is going to end before need or will... I don't know what we fear, but we rarely encounter very good sensations.

I. ARTOLA: All of these things we associate to gain or lose generate an involuntary weight in the athlete. Over time we learn less and less, but it cannot be denied that the main variable that marks the most in order to continue living of what we have our passion are the results: from our salary, the recognition of people... If there are no results, the change of life comes. The results have a lot of weight and many times come to mind when we are in the pediment.

It's a crazy wheel and you realize that we're all scared and something lost. You might think that Jokin, who knows how many berets she has (she will have lost her account), doesn't have to be afraid. Surely yes, those who have gained a lot may be afraid to lose their great status. However, another pelotari may be afraid that they will not renew the contract... Pressure, fear, are very intimate. It makes me happy when you say: this has an advantage in the game, because it goes without pressure...

J. ALTUNA: This message that is often broadcast from the press and television is barbaric. Do you know how it feels inside? The greater or lesser pressure depends on each one.

I. ARTOLA: It's very personal, yes. Of course, it is not separated from the external factors, the messages we receive are completely on one side or the other, of course it will also affect us. But in the end there's always that last word, like anything in life. Everyone decides to what extent these external messages are addressed or not.

Photo: Dani Blanco / ARGIA -CC-BY-SA
Jokin Altuna Altuna, “Altuna III” (born in Amezketa in 1996)

Debut in 2014 on Eibar Monday: With Abel Barriola, Titin and Xabier Tolosa.

Head champion in 2018 and 2021. Four and a half in 2017, 2020 and 2021. For couples
in 2022 with Julen Martija.

Head ahead of the runner-up in 2020 and 2023. Four and a half in 2016, 2018, 2019 and 2022.

Photo: Dani Blanco / ARGIA -CC-BY-SA
Iñaki Artola Izagirre (born in Alegia in 1994)

Debut in 2014 in the Beotibar de Tolosa fronton: With Jon Ander Albave, Pablo Berasaluze and Aritz Begino.

Champion at 4½ second in 2014. In 2022 San Fermín tournament accompanied by Jon Mariezkurrena.

Finalist in the 2021 championship head: he was ranked in the final but an injury prevented him from playing.

What do you do to overcome the pressure?

"It's very difficult, but the important thing is to focus on what's in your hands, to the fullest. Putting your head in everyday
work" Jokin Altuna

J. ALTUNA: It's very difficult, but the important thing is to focus on what's in your hands, to the fullest. To be conscious at every moment “what depends at this moment?”; to think in all situations “what can I do?”. Of course, in some situations it is much more difficult, but the important thing is for an athlete not to leave the daily discipline, to continue working: the pelotari must try to wake up the next morning and do the jobs that the trainer sends him and put his head in the daily work.

I. ARTOLA: We must look for media that are not the result, which, as Jokin said, are more within everyone’s reach. And act on those self-esteem, not on the outcome, because the outcome doesn't depend on yourself. What depends is to go well prepared to the game: tacos, trainings...

Loss causes pain. What is the work each should do after losing to cure this pain?

J. ALTUNA: Losing is certainly harmful. In addition, they do not let us take the first moment with peace of mind, they interview us immediately... I believe that we all have time to assimilate that grief, that time we want to be alone, that we have lost an important game.

I. ARTOLA: Grief seems to me to be a proper word, because even if I try to relativize everything, that moment of new loss is very painful. Sometimes it takes us longer, then less, but there is a time that we want to respect and that cannot be avoided. There's a few minutes, the time it takes for that pain to go.

"What's at stake here is the lightest entertainment in society. Realizing it helps me give a place in my life, no more"
Iñaki Artola

So that this pain doesn't last long or be disproportionate, it helps me see with perspective. We go out on the field, there's a lot of people out there looking, we want to give it to them as well, medically has a huge impact -- and we can fall into that mistake, which is to think that here's something important at stake. What's at stake here is society's fastest entertainment. Realizing it helps me give a place in my life, no more.

J. ALTUNA: After the mourning, I like to make a valuation, what I have done well, how bad ...

I. ARTOLA: Knowing how to forgive is very important and you have to learn over time. If the pelotari hasn't done what's in her hand, or she's prioritized other things instead of the party -- then she'll have to do another thought. But if throughout the week he has done what is in his hand, at the moment he has given everything on the court... It is not fair for others to accuse the sportsman of anything, nor to rebuke himself because he has hit two sheets. It is not fair, because in those moments there is no time to think, it is a game, it is something that cannot be controlled, and if in that you cannot control something that the athlete has to accept: sometimes it goes well and sometimes badly, without knowing why. Also for many occasions.

"What I've learned is that once I've made a valuation, from there it's useless to flip the head"
Jokin Altuna

J. ALTUNA: What I have learned is that, once I have made an assessment, from there it is useless to spin and punish myself. Nothing is achieved with this. This seems simple, but it's not easy to do.

I. ARTOLA: We've all had to go into bed after the match and spin two players. Maybe a week later, unable to sleep -- and that can't be the case.

J. ALTUNA: Once the assessment has been made, it should focus on the following objective. This is the life of athletes. Tacos, head in the next game... That's why I've been through professional years quickly, because almost this week I've had a new goal.

Photo: Dani Blanco / ARGIA -CC-BY-SA

Have there been changes in your trajectory, winning and losing your way of living? What have you learned along the way?

J. ALTUNA: Yes, we're always learning. In June of this year Artola and I will celebrate ten years as professionals. When we started, we were between 18 and 20 years old and now between 30 and 28. With time and age, things look different, both with sport and with life.

"What I've learned is that many times we don't win or get everything that we have on the court, and of course without getting everything that we have, it passes over any
ball" Jokin Altuna

We all like to win and we all prepare to win, that's the goal. But before, when I started a championship, the day of the draw was nervous to the show, thinking if I would touch one or the other opponent... What I've learned is that oftentimes everything we have on the court comes out, we don't win, and of course, without getting everything we have, it's over any ball.

That grief after losing me lasted a lot longer. Now I'm conscious, it does a lot of damage and the biggest one when I haven't given my stuff on the court. But when it comes to turning the pain around, I do my inner work much faster.

I. ARTOLA: At age 18, it seemed to us that the ultimate goal was to reach a higher level.

"Experience has shown us that this triumph did not give us the satisfaction of reflection we expected. And once lost, it wasn't that much"
Iñaki Artola

We created an illusion like this, relating happiness to it. Then we have lived experiences of winning over ten years, and we have lived that when we have won nothing ends, that the next week there is another game, that we have to retrain and that that victory does not give us as much satisfaction of reflection as we expected. And once lost, the same thing, we've seen that it wasn't so much, that nothing happens, that opportunities come back... Experience has its weight and shows it.

Illustration: Shu Otero.

What is losing and knowing how to win?

I. ARTOLA: I like that concept, learning to lose and to win. What is that? Basically, to realize that when we win we exercise humility and realism “I’ve won, but that’s why I’m just an opponent in nothing. In a game I have made a few drops more and more point, it is not something that goes further.” When we lose the same thing, “I’ve lost in the scoreboard and it’s already, so I’m no less in anything than the other.”

They are streaks of losing and winning. What work does each season require?

J. ALTUNA: I believe that as we gain more confidence. But we can't think we're always going to win because we're winning. Getting used to it is not good.

If many times we're losing, then we have to be mentally strong, and when we're on a bad run, this is nothing easy: there's a risk of falling your ears or head down and taking disappointments. We must be eager and courageous because we are all to turn this issue around.

There's a lot of talk about the benefits of cooperative games that everybody wins. What would you say in favour of competition?

"You don't learn anything even if you escape as a child"
Iñaki Artola

I. ARTOLA: Nothing is learned even though it escapes from childhood. When we went to a championship, the goal was to win. They were not meetings, they were championships. And many times we lost it. It is understandable that from the external point of view, of course for parents, it is hard to see their daughter or son lose, but it is also learned thus, these moments will engulf us. I believe that when you have lost it is much more than the suffering that occurs to the child, which often provokes the reading given to you: when you leave the pediment and you are going to eat, if you notice that parents or friends treat you more differently depending on what you have gained or lost, the problem begins there, not the moment you have lost it in the pediment. If this failure or loss of the child lives well around them, the consequence is not bad, it is good: Feel “I’ve lost but nothing has happened.” That's also learning.

Photo: Dani Blanco / ARGIA -CC-BY-SA

Sport generates intense emotions. What do you feel when you win?

J. ALTUNA: Not everyone we win feels the same emotion.

I. ARTOLA: Because not all wins are equal or lost.

J. ALTUNA: If the party has been very bad and I have won, I think “I have acted badly but rivals worse.” When I win without doing a good job, I don't enjoy on the court and when I finish what I feel is a kind of quiet.

"There are matches that as athletes we are very close to our borders. What it feels like to win this way is a
euphoria" Iñaki Artola

I. ARTOLA: Yes, there are matches that we see that as an athlete we are not close to our best level, but also not opposed, because it is a very tense party or because the playing conditions are difficult... what feels at those moments is the tranquility of holding a bad time. Jokin, as it was going to happen to you in the last championship, knowing that you didn't stop at the pediment... then, you're getting ready all week more for a bad time than for a good time. At the end of the game you take peace of mind, it's a different joy, and also pride, because you think that "I've been able to keep suffering to the end," but it's not that other euphoria.

"When I've been really good, free and comfortable, I feel like I've enjoyed on the court. That's best for an athlete"
Jokin Altuna

J. ALTUNA: Instead, when I've been really good, free and comfortable, I feel like I've enjoyed on the court. That's best for an athlete. It's hard to get there, because they're there, first the opponents, then the personal point of play, how we're physically, the hands -- everything has to merge.

I. ARTOLA: Yes, there are very contested parties, and in those cases we feel that as athletes we are very close to our borders, even surprised: “I didn’t think I was able to do this and I’ve done it because I’ve been forced into the opposite.” It is often the opposite that forces us to do our best. And also, if in the end I've been able to put a gingite, doing a little bit more than him, what I feel is euphoria. The joy of Christ.

And what does it feel like when it's lost?

J. ALTUNA: The other side. When I haven't given everything and I've lost it, then I feel sad. Sorry because I haven't been able to get all the work I've done on the field.

ARTOLA: In those days when I don't give what I feel disappointment, or I don't know what the word is. These days you have to know how to forgive me. More painful days.

J. ALTUNA: But it also reminds me of the days when, although I've lost myself, I've been proud of the field. Good work and feeling of abandonment. In these cases, I may be led by a player who I have not succeeded, but what else do I have to ask myself? If the rival has also played the glass game and won me, he has been worthwhile and is there. So I have two sensations: on the one hand a lot of sorrow, because my tournament is over or I haven't won, but on the other hand the pride of having pulled everything out. I've had the championships because what I knew wasn't 100 percent and I've been able to be there. Even if you don't win, this gives the athlete a lot of strength.

I. ARTOLA: Yes, despite the bad result, if the pelotari knows that he is turning around an injury or a bad situation and that something that asks him for work is going ahead, that gives him a lot as a person. Many times it is not what seems out, “the one who wins is happy and the other does not.” Our daily life is much more personal than eso.Una lost, TV conversations catch us in that first hot moment of
grief, we always say “shame”, etc... But it has to be acknowledged that sometimes we go home to the best not to taste, but to half taste. Because we're sorry, "I've given my, more or less."

There's an anecdote I like to tell, because I think the person also learns a lot from model. And Oinatz Bengoetxea has been an example: without falling into idealizations, but everyone who has touched us to be with him in costumes has noticed that he had a special way of living things. I remember that on this very fronton we played a decisive game of the championship in carnival. It was a very hard game, very contested by the four, and in 21 he made his typical play, a corner: if it was good it was drop, but he played the sheet and we won the match. We entered the locker room. We were different in age and we respected Bengoetxea very much, it was one of our usual idols. I was very quiet, respecting her moment of mourning... and she entered the dressing room saying: “What a pity the party wasn’t at 25! Right now, when we were enjoying most of it, you have to end!” Living like this is difficult, but there's a nice example of how we should live.

Photo: Dani Blanco / ARGIA -CC-BY-SA

Have you learned how to manage emotions in sport?

J. ALTUNA: Until an age we are unaware, although from a young age we hear, the mind is important. It seems to me a very complex issue and we are learning from experience. We are taught many things, but I think there are things that need to be done more in schools, with children of a certain age. Compared to other sports, the ball has not been practiced at all.

I. ARTOLA: Changes in training come, a little later, from other more powerful sports. And the figure of the sports psychologist has come.

J. ALTUNA: I'm with a couch or a sports psychologist, then I'm also with another psychologist, and the truth is that they've helped me a lot, not just for sports, but for everyday life. I certainly think it is important.

"In sport we have a public comment weekly. The situation leads us to have to accept the help to learn sports psychology"
Iñaki Artola

I. ARTOLA: If someone who works at the bar or has led a harder life is going to take deeper learning for life than we are, but one of the features of the sport is that every week we have a public expression and we feel we have no time to lose. The athlete's life, although the longest, is very short, the contracts are one or two years, which forces us to perform an early, early learning in time. In another profession we wouldn't feel like a psychologist to take the best out of us at work: maybe we would learn otherwise, with another pause ... In sport, we are in a hurry to get the best out of us: if we lose focus in three weeks, if we wake up, and if we are losing, it is three parties that we try to analyse, correct… and the situation leads us to have to accept the help to learn from it. I started accepting this help at age 25.

When we were in a concentration, a sports psychologist told us that sport allows us to learn how to manage emotions and sent us a message: seize this opportunity.

"There was no talk before about sports psychology, but I think there has to be one intermediate thing: you can't give a message to the athlete who needs a couch in their whole career"
Jokin Altuna

J. ALTUNA: Nothing was said about this before, but I think there has to be one intermediate thing: you cannot give a message to the athlete every day or throughout his career who needs a couch or a sports psychologist. I think the athlete has to learn, take some tools, but from there he has to be able to come as an athlete from the experiences that happen to him and since he has learned. Otherwise, you can create dependency, you can feel at a certain moment that you need another person entirely. Everything is very important: to physically train, to mentally train, to take care of the food and to rest... but everything in its proper measure.

I. ARTOLA: Yeah, I also don't mean that's the only way to learn, talking to veteran pelotaris you realize that in their own way they came to similar conclusions and that there was learning, perhaps better.

With the psychologist you get some tools and then we will pass without a psychologist, but I recommend the young Pelotaris to start this process, if they can before we start.

The bottler Gorka Altuna told Jokin in the last drops of a game: “Lose or win, but you have to.”

J. ALTUNA: That you lose or win, that after the match the feeling that you have been in command of the drop and acted decisively. With 21, we either pull a little bit more out of the bag, or we go back in lots to move forward -- those decisions are the ones we have in our heads later. I think that is what I wanted to say.

But Gorka tells me a lot and it's not easy to find an explanation for everything, eh! If I had a button to silence it, I would sometimes love it! Artola also knows it a lot and he knows it is... [laughter].

I. ARTOLA: You're a cousin and I'm always a friend. From here we will send him a message: he believes he is a good bottle and we tell him that the horse has touched him. I do not want to bloom him, but I think the message he gave to Jokin is very good: I think the minimum condition is to play daring in sport, which always comes well.

There will always be doubt whether Gorka was not there Jokin would win that match... [laughter].

Illustration: Shu Otero.

There's no tie in the ball. It's lost or won and alone. Do these characteristics make hard ball sport?

I. ARTOLA: Each sport has its own characteristics and one of the characteristics of the ball is that only the pelotari is in the pediment: when it wins it is very good, but when it loses it cannot go into hiding within a team. Everyone has to swallow everything they are living on their own.

"The ball is a solo sport, but I've always lived in a lot of solitude. For example, there is the habit of placing tacos with their opponents in the same
costume" Iñaki Artola

But I have the feeling that only those specific characteristics of sport have more influence on the culture of each sport. The ball is a solo sport, but I've always lived in a lot of solitude. For example, there is the habit of putting the tacos with the opponents in the same locker room, and at the end of the game we also spend a lot of time together taking the tacos off in the same locker room... Four or five years ago, we were proposed to put the tacos aside, the opponents in two lockers. From the point of view of winning it can be reasonable to be more focused. But all pelotaris feel the loss of a custom that has always existed and that gives us a lot as people. And we decided to stay the same.

J. ALTUNA: Yes, we've grown up like this and it's very nice. It has touched us to live all kinds of moments: when you have won and are very happy, in the wardrobe

"When you have won and are very happy, you see the other sad in the wardrobe and you have to know how to put him in his situation. We've all learned right now"
Jokin Altuna

The other looks sad and you have to know how to put it in your situation. We have all learnt at the moment. Artola and I have been lucky enough, debuted very young and played against many pelotaris of the previous generation, our idols. And seeing how some have respected and protected us is very nice. They learn a lot.

I. ARTOLA: Also, what we've lived in ballschool has touched us to be the protagonists that we go out on the field, but being aware of the number of people around us in volunteering so we can walk there -- that has also taught us a lot.

Also those of us who have lived as children: despite losing a game, then being paired with that pelotari, and then facing again, because it is a very small world... we have often gone together to dinner, we have slept at home... We have lived a gregarious world. Beautiful.

Photo: Dani Blanco / ARGIA -CC-BY-SA

Are there ways to win? Could you win 22-0?

J. ALTUNA: The coach has always taught me that if a party is winning easily, the opponent is not left to zero. No one likes to stay in a vacuum, or to leave the opposite in a vacuum. On the other hand, when we are inside the court and the pediment is a little full, giving away a drop does not make us very happy.

An example of that that happened to me in this pediment was the best of the amateurs and didn't reach the professionals with a quintet of mine I had very good relationship with since I was little. In a Pan Nuevo tournament we were very good and they didn't: I don't know how many we were going, 15-0 or, and I don't know exactly how I did, spend two in a bag or ... He realized, he took the next kick and pulled out the foul. He didn't tell me anything, and he told me everything with that. We all see different. These are difficult situations.

I. ARTOLA: Each sport has its own codes and I think it is nice to keep these codes as a child. They are a kind of small rituals that help to internalize and show outward the respect that the two rivals must keep. For example, in the ball, shake hands at the end of the game.

"These ball codes show that winning is very important but there are things that are more important than winning"
Iñaki Artola

Another code that we've been taught since we were a kid is that, don't leave it blank. As a child, I see this very reasonable rule: some are 60 kilos and others 40 pounds, going to the void is very painful and knowing that you are going to win, having that point of understanding with the adversary is beautiful. But there comes a time when your opponent doesn't want to see him do a little bit, because you realize and you know that people also realize. To me as a young man, once the adversary asked me not to leave and I would not want to leave opponents. From a certain age on, I would understand that the way to express respect is precisely to do it seriously.

Another code made from a child is to allow the saque to go forward. If the striker already has to be less pelotari, take the sic. I don't regret the games that I've lost as a child, but if I have some regret, it's that once, at about 15 years old, I was playing the left-hander and we were at 21, had I pulled out the kick to win the game.

Keeping these codes is important because they show that winning is very important but there are things that are more important than winning.

Photo: Dani Blanco / ARGIA -CC-BY-SA

Coucha Imanol Ibarrondo says that victories on the athlete's path are blown up, but what matters is the cake. [Here you can see the interview made by Mikel Idoate] What is that cake for you? What do you need to look back and think “I’ve won in my sports career”?

"When I started a first competition I thought too much about the final result, wanting to win the txapela. That hurt me, it made me anxious"
Jokin Altuna

J. ALTUNA: I walked around with Ibarrondo and gave me a pretty similar message. Because when I started a championship, I thought too much about the final result, wanting to win the txapela. That hurt me, it made me anxious and Ibarrondo helped me a lot. I believe that this message says the importance of everyday life.

I. ARTOLA: We've shared costumes with people of different ages over the last 10 years and seeing and talking to older people helps us imagine those things. And the reality is that at the end of the race, they don't keep their txapelas and their results, but other things.

"I would like to say at the end of the tour: 'I enjoy.' I want to try to be aware of the fate we have”
Iñaki Artola

I've heard over a former pelotari: "I started working in a workshop and now I live in a nice area! ". On the one hand I am happy, but on the other hand I get the impression that, being a privilege that we have objectively, we can do something that we like in good condition and in front of so many people... and not being aware of it and enjoying it, is also a pity. I would like this not to happen to me, that in the end we can say: “I have enjoyed the moments of the field, the life of pelotari, the daily workouts...”. Not everything is pleasure when you don't feel well playing, or when they're injuries... But the moments of enjoyment are also many, and I'd like to try to be aware of those moments and how lucky we are.

J. ALTUNA: That's the hardest thing many times. Everything goes so fast! When you're a little girl, you dream so much of getting there, of being a pelotari, and then this year we're going to be 10 years old and how fast they've gone! It gives me an idea for the future of what I'm going to miss my day to day that I like so much now: to train with my friends, to be with my friends in the dressing room... That gives me a lot more than winning a txapela more or less. We're going to wake up every day and then we're going to have to do other things that motivation we have now.

I. ARTOLA: I think that after we leave the ball, we will be just as happy or happier than now, why not! But I have that concern. We started from a very young age, it didn't start when we debuted, we have much earlier something that we live in everyday life with a lot of passion, that always sets us goals. Every day there is something to do: take care of your hands, train, watch the matches... When they take that away from us, to see how we get to live without it. It will come and we will get it right.

"Every night I sleep quiet for that, because I try to put everything from me"
Jokin Altuna

J. ALTUNA: It puts us [tells Artola]. At the end of the sports tour, if we have put everything on our side, we will always have the feeling that we could give it a little more in one match or another, but we know that we have put everything in place. I like to read the interviews of the athletes and there have been those who have said that after the end of the race they have regretted a little, because they have looked back and realized that at times they had not given everything. I sleep peacefully every night for that, because I try to put everything from me, and I know Artola is too. I think an athlete is given a lot.

I. ARTOLA: At the end of the journey and looking back, it would also be important for me, without great pretensions, to try to have an ordered model. If sport has to express values, they come from conscious decisions and choices, not from specific emotions.

You tend to win the model to an athlete who does everything in his hand and who has made great sacrifices for sport... I think that model is not enough. All this has to be done, yes, but you also have to convey values that you received from those models that you had as a child. The values that the culture of the ball has brought to us.



A well lost drop, even failed, was worth it.

JOKIN ALTUNA: He attended the fourth day of this championship of couples in Barcelona. Julen Martija and I were 21 against Joseba Ezkurdia and Xabier Tolosa, I left on the txoko -- and the veneer. But I don't regret that.

IÑAKI ARTOLA: He's been in this year's championship, in the Donostia match. Ander Imaz and I lost right against Jon Ander Peña and Jon Ander Albisu and eventually touched the sheet. The decision was good.

A game you've lost but you're proud of.

J. ALTUNA: Eighth final against Iker Irribarria at the 2019 San Sebastian championship. I was also winning 16-12, but lost 22-18. The rival I had in front of me wasn't just anyone, I haven't seen anyone individually like these blows, and I did it quite a bit. In the locker room we were comfortable: I was sad to be out of the championship but I was comfortable because I gave myself everything.

I. ARTOLA: In this four-and-a-half year championship, on this fronton, I played the fourth final against Jon Ander Peña. I lost 22-20. What can I gain more? Yes, if he had made other decisions or acted otherwise. But I generally know I said my thing.

A bittersweet victory.

I. ARTOLA: In 2019 in Vitoria against Juan Martínez de Irujo. He felt pain and had to leave the game from the start. The inner selfish devil told me that that point could be used to advance the tournament, but at the same time I felt the opposite, not only for empathy with the adversary, but for my pride: what I really wanted was to win a Irujo, not so.

J. ALTUNA: When I won the second head cap. He was in Pandemia in 2021 and Beñat Rezusta and I played without any crowd in Bilbao. What a cold atmosphere, what a silence there was, behind the voice of Abel Barriola and Xabier Euzkitz ... I brought my beret home but it wasn't the same.

Illustration: Shu Otero.

A lost party that has taught you a lot.

I. ARTOLA: Match played in 2018 against Axier Arteaga for qualifying the four-and-a-half championship in Azpeitia. From the nice summer season, I lost the game and felt very tied and nervous. Until that moment I did not recognize that I could feel like this, I thought I had a very good way to take things, always with distance, etc... At that moment, I saw the distance that can exist between the discourse and the thought that you have and what you really feel. On the way back, talking to the bottle in the car, I had to do an exercise of humility to recognize that I didn't have the ideas I thought I had so internalized that I had to start exploring and working something.

J. ALTUNA: In 2015 I played the first match in Donostia against Oinatz Bengoetxea at 4½. I had to do 13 so many to move forward, and I stayed at 7. I came from collecting Christ's flowers, and at the age of 19 I first gained Iñaki Artola: I always had a very bad time against him and that day I gained and gained a lot of confidence. Then I beat Aimar Olaizola and went into a bubble to the pre-final match against Bengoetxea, all too confidently: I didn't think I should win, but I would leave with good sensations. Then it made me difficult to leave and I couldn't manage the situation. That day taught me a lot.

You enjoyed a great victory.

I. ARTOLA: Lekeitio tournament won in 2018 with Mikel Larunbe. Until then, I had won some tournaments, but I worked with more prestigious clubs. That day we faced a great couple, Danel Elezkano and Beñat Rezusta. On Saturdays and the two of us were young and won without the support of a veteran. It was also special because of the personal relationship I had with Saturdays, because as a child we face many times.

J. ALTUNA: In 2015, we played an initial match in the couples' championship with Miguel Merino against Juan Martínez de Irujo and Abel Barriola, a year after I debuted. I was very young and I remember the illusion I had to fight them. I had the chance to win Irujo. This item will not be forgotten.

How do you like to win?

J. ALTUNA: When he gave me everything and the party was good and competitive.

I. ARTOLA: I buy the answer to Jokin. Normally when the two pelotaris give theirs the match is matched, in the pediment a warm atmosphere is created... Since we have to suffer on the court or manage fatigue and a difficult situation, then joy is also moderate.

What's the best shot to lose?

J. ALTUNA: 22-21. Some say that reaching 21 and losing it does more harm... I don't care, I'd rather lose it in 21 than 18, 10 or 15.

I. ARTOLA: I also buy this answer. I was also going to say, “I’d rather lose in 5 than 21!” No, it's not true. If it is needed at first glance, it will look like this, but the next day and a week later, the best way to get lost is 22-21.

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