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Galotxa (Valencian pronunciation: [ɡaˈlɔtʃa] ) is a variety of pilota that is always played in the street, whether artificial or natural, practiced mostly in the northern counties of the Xúquer river.
Valencian pilota is a traditional handball sport played in the Valencian Community. Its origins are not known.
In the evolution of the various Valencian pilota forms, Galotxa would be immediate precursor of the Escala i corda (a net in the center of the court, starting the game with the ferida, and the ball can only bounce once on the ground), but without the stairs nor llotgetes (in natural streets galleries neither exist).
Escala i corda is the most prestigious variant of Valencian pilota, and the only one apart from raspall to have professional players.
There are only amateur players, although many professionals pilotaris (pilota players) of Escala i corda began in Galotxa, such as Álvaro.
Álvaro Navarro Serra, simply known as Álvaro, is one of the main Valencian pilota professional players. He is one of the most reputed dauers due to his strong left hand and his professionality, and has got to be a member of the Valencian Pilota Squad. Now he is one of the stars of the ValNet company.
Galotxa games are played on the street. This street should be straight and flat, about 50 metres (160 ft) long and 7 meters wide. But these are only guides, and usually people elect a street that fits more to their style of play.
Furthermore, given the dominance of cars and streets in the neighborhood nuisance, some councils have built artificial streets for the practice of Galotxa. These streets simulate windows, balconies, lampposts, sidewalks (and even the sewer lids) of a typical street, but with the advantage of a more regularly pitch and without the interruption of a car that wants to enter the garage, or the elderly lady who returns laden with shopping bags. Among others, there are artificial streets in Albuixech, Benidorm, Beniparrell, Calp, Foios, L'Eliana, Montserrat, Torrent, and Xirivella.
Albuixech is a municipality in the comarca of Horta Nord in the Valencian Community, Spain.
Benidorm is a city and municipality in the province of Alicante in eastern Spain, on the Mediterranean coast.
Beniparrell is a municipality in the comarca of Horta Sud in the Valencian Community, Spain.
In the center of the street, and at a height of 1.80 metres (5 ft 11 in), is placed a net that divides the court in two halves, the dau and the rest. From this net, 15 steps towards the rest hangs another net, the Galotxa net. And two feet from the Galotxa net to the dau wall, reaching the left wall, a rectangle called dau is drawn on the floor. Both the dau and the Galotxa net are only required when serving every quinze, and are ignored in other play situations.
The audience sits at the bottom of the street, on sidewalks, or under the midfield net. In the case of artificial streets there are staired public galleries in the top of the border walls, limiting the depth of the courts.
The Galotxa games are played by two teams of three members each, some dressed in red and others blue (the red color is the favorite or the supposedly stronger), and the objective is the same as the Escala i corda, sending the ball over a net by hitting it with the hand. When the opponent doesn't get it the sending team wins the quinze.
Matches are played to 14 games, counting 5 to 5: every game scoring is valid for 5 points. Every game is divided in 4 "quinzes" (15, 30, val and game). The team who first gets 70 points for 14 games is the winner.
Every quinze begins when the "feridor" player throwing (not hitying) the ball to the opponent bot over the Galotxa net and falling on the dau. Then the bot must turn it back to the team in the "rest" midfield. This way, both teams will be sending each other the ball over the net with an only hit of the hand by team, they may hit the ball on the air or when it's bounced once on the ground, until one of the teams is not able to throw it back or a "fault" is committed. The quinze is won when the other team is not able to re-hit the ball over the net.
Also, however, a quinze is won when the other team committed a foul:
In the "Galotxa" a kind of ball called pilota de vaqueta (Catalan for little cow ball) is used, it's a small and extremely fast ball, very tough and good bouncer. The name comes from the fact that it's made of cow leather. The size for adults are 42 mm diameter, 138 mm circumference, and 42 gr of weight.
The vaqueta ball is the kind of ball used to play some Valencian pilota variants: Escala i corda, Galotxa and Raspall. Its name derives from the fact that it is made of bull's skin, hence its black colour, this way the ball contrasts with the white colour of the trinquets' walls.
"Galotxa" is played by teams of three players. The visiting team dresses in red (as an act of deference, because historically the red color is the one of the winners or the favourite team), and the other one in blue.
Players are called according to their position in the street. So, there is "bot", a "mitger" and a "punter". There are also two special players called the "feridors".
The Circuit Bancaixa, officially Liga Profesional Escala i Corda, is the professional league of Valencian pilota.
Valencian trinquet, or simply trinquet, is the court used in the Valencian Community for two different modalities of Valencian pilota: the Escala i corda and the Raspall.
Llargues is the oldest Valencian pilota modality. It is played on the streets, where two teams formed by 3, 4 or 5 players throw each other the ball with the hand try to surpass an imaginary line which changes every game.
Raspall is a variant of the handball game, Valencian pilota, played mainly in the Valencian regions south to the Xúquer river: the Vall d'Albaida, the Safor, the Costera, the Marina Alta and the Marina Baixa. It is also popular in the Ribera Baixa. It is one of only two variants that have professional players—the other being Escala i corda.
Frontó is a modified Valencian pilota version of the original Basque Pelota game. The name frontó refers both to the game, ball and the playing area. Unlike some of the more popular Valencian Pilota rules, frontó is an indirect game, that is, players do not stand face-to-face but share a common playing area.
The Pelayo trinquet is one of the most renowned trinquets courts of the Valencian pilota sport in Valencia. The most important Escala i corda competitions, such as the Circuit Bancaixa, have their final matches played there.
Paco Cabanes Pastor is a retired professional Valencian pilota player known by his town's name, Genovés I, and who has begun a pilotaris saga with his son, Genovés II. He's been regarded as one of the best players of all time, along with El Nel de Murla, Juliet d'Alginet and Rovellet, and he deserved to be in the Honor Gallery of the Pelayo trinquet. He's also been a member of the Valencian Pilota Squad.
Jaume Morales Moltó, sporting nickname Tato, is a Valencian pilota professional player in the ValNet company team. He plays as mitger (midfield) of the Escala i corda variant with a unique and unorthodox style due to his early experiences as a player, playing the Llargues variant in the streets. He is a member of the Valencian Pilota Squad.
Albert Arnal, known as Quart was the Valencian pilota ruling dauer player during the 1930s. His mastery caused him to be rewarded by having a picture on the Honor Gallery of the Pelayo trinquet. On 1991 the Valencian Pilota Federation awarded him with the Golden medal.
Antoni Reig Ventura, known as Rovellet because his father was Rovell from Dénia, was a professional Escala i corda Valencian pilota variant player. In recognition of his mastery, he is one of only five pilotaris with a picture on Pelayo trinquet's Honor Gallery. He has also had a street in Valencia named after him.
Julio Palau Lozano was a professional Valencian pilota Escala i corda variant player known as Juliet d'Alginet. He is one of only five players in the Pelayo trinquet's Honor gallery.
Vicente Grau Juan is a professional Valencian pilota player known as Grau. He plays mainly Escala i corda matches and is one of the best mitgers (midfield) playing for the ValNet company, due to his fast and strong ball-strikes, he has been the first mitger who won the Trofeu Individual Bancaixa, a competition for dauers. He has been a recurrent member of the Valencian Pilota Squad, attaining many prizes, specially the World's best player twice.
José Cabanes is a professional Valencian pilota player, known as Genovés II because his father is Genovés I. He plays for the ValNet company as a dauer on Escala i corda matches, but he can be also seen in exhibition matches of Llargues, Galotxa, or Frontó. He is a member of the Valencian Pilota Squad.
The Escala i Corda XVI Professional League 06–07 of the Circuit Bancaixa is the top-level championship of the Valencian pilota, organized by the firm ValNet, on the Escala i corda variant.
The Escala and Corda XIV Professional League 04-05 of the Circuit Bancaixa is the top-level championship of the Valencian pilota, organized by the firm ValNet, on the Escala i corda variant.
Galotxetes is a modality of the Valencian pilota. As usual in the Valencian pilota, it's a handball game where players stand in front of each other. The differences with the main variant are the unusual courtfield and the unique ball used. Despite the name, it has no relation with another Valencian pilota variant, the Galotxa.
The Escala i Corda XVII Professional League 07-08 of the Circuit Bancaixa is the top-level championship of the Escala i corda, a modality of Valencian pilota, organized by the firm ValNet. During the very first days the Valencian Pilota Federation disagreed with the way it was organized and gave no "official" title to this season, but finally ValNet and the FPV reached an agreement.