Deco’s Chris Van Vliet takes on Jai-Alai

In the last segment, Chris interviewed one A-lister after another in London. Does he ever get a chance to relax, maybe play a few games? Funny you should ask because he went looking for a new sport to try, and realized he’s not very good at that sport.

Jai-Alai is known as the world’s fastest sport.

Juan Arrasate, players manager at Casino Miami Jai-Alai: “You can throw that ball 140 miles per hour.”

Chris Van Vliet: “This sounds terrifying.”

And all that speed can now be seen — and bet on — at Magic City Casino in Miami.

Juan Arrasate: “This is a sport that originated in Spain about 150 years ago. First guy who comes to seven points wins the game.”

Magic City athletes are homegrown stars transformed into Jai-Alai pros. Today, I will attempt to become one of them

Chris Van Vliet: “Before today, I thought that was pronounced, ‘J-L-A.'”

Chris Van Vliet: “That ball seems very hard.”

Ben Gadsden, Jai-Alai player: “Yeah, this hits you, it’s going to be painful.”

Chris Van Vliet: “Oh yeah, that’s going to hurt. What exactly do we call this?”

Ben Gadsden: “This is called a cesta.”

Chris Van Vliet: “I would call it a very large banana.”

Ben Gadsden: “Banana peel.”

Chris Van Vliet: “So my hand just goes right in here?”

Ben Gadsden: “Yeah, slide it in there.”

Chris Van Vliet: “I feel like I look really cool.”

Ben Gadsden: “Well, let’s see how you throw.”

Chris Van Vliet: “Probably not well.”

I should probably put a helmet on first, right?

Ben Gadsden: “You want to keep it above the hip.”

Chris Van Vliet: “You can’t dip below the hip!”

Ben Gadsden: “Straight but relaxed. Don’t be too stiff with it. Come right there.”

Chris Van Vliet: Are you as scared as I am?

Ben Gadsden: “No, not at all.”

Chris Van Vliet: “OK, that’s good.”

*Chris throws the ball poorly*

Chris Van Vliet: “Oh come on!”

And hey, it can only get better from here, right? Ehh, maybe not.

*Chris throws the ball again*

Chris Van Vliet: “Oh nooooo!”

*Chris throws the ball again and no bueno*

Chris Van Vliet: “By next week, I might actually have it going 10 feet in front of me.”

With some hands on training, we start making some progress…

*Chris throws the ball again and it’s actually good*

Ben Gadsden: “There it is!”

Chris Van Vliet: “Heyyy!”

Now I have to learn how to catch it on just one bounce.

Juan Arrasate: “When the ball is coming this way, you want to break the follow. OK?”

*Chris catches a pitch from Juan*

Chris Van Vliet: “Hey! OK, OK.”

Juan Arrasate: “Very good.”

But what happens when it’s hurling at me off a wall during a game? Exactly what you’d expect…

*Ben throws the ball at the wall and Chris catches it, but fails miserably when throwing it back*

Chris Van Vliet: “Ahhhh!”

Maybe we should rename this segment from Keeping Up With Chris to Chris Can’t Keep Up.

And if you have something you want to see Chris try, and possibly succeed at this time, email him at

Chris will use his Amazon Prime delivery drone to send you a response.


Miami Jai-Alai (at Magic City Casino)
450 NW 37th Ave.
Miami, FL 33125
(305) 649-3000

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