(family ranking numbers
12 and 6)
In Galarreta. Hernani.
Oriamendi hill in the back-ground
the Spanish Basketball Team
Jose Luis, Juanba
.Three brothers in Berazubi, Tolosa.
Spanish Championships The "H" stands for
the Benjamin of a
12s younger than me. For
reasons, we lived a
hierarchical (“pecking order”) and we had the big sister and big brother
and they dictated you. As I was No 11, I had to wait for Fernando’s
“arrival” to exercise my constitutional right. But it wasn’t to be. His
mother protected him and that was it
Definitively, he was very likeable
(and a lady’s man) and like his father and brother Juan Bautista he was
musically endowed and in the family festivities they would liven up the
celebration, playing the piano or singing basque songs
At the end of dinner, father would
“attack” the piano playing the Hernani’s triumphal march, while the rest
moved the table to a corner and roll up the carpet, to make room for the
“al suelto” dance (basque dance with the partners apart, facing each
other) Then, Don Luis would invite Doña Benita and then the rest of the
family would join in. It was great!
The “Mateos”, our relatives from
the floor under, as far as I know, never complained.
Fernando had a lot of pride and
courage. I remember the day when at the end of the school day, 6:00 pm, we
went to pick up our bikes – we used to go to “Sagrado Corazon” school (10
Km away) on bicycle (to save the transport fee) -- something happened that
I didn’t like and I got angry at him. In revenge, I asked him to go home
on his own. I did not want to ride with him.
We left Sanchez Toca towards Amara,
Anoeta and Loyola, along the Urumea river road. It wasn’t long before I
saw him trying to shorten the gap between us. It was going to get dark
very soon and he didn’t like to ride alone. I tried a bit harder but he
kept coming. Before soon he was right by my wheel.
When we were arriving home, he was
still glued to me. My last hope was the “Cinco Enea” uphill. From there
you drive into the “calle Mayor”(street) the Canton to the right, (a
narrow street) leaving Pedro Zugasti’s bicycle shop, the Cuesta’s
business, the bleach factory and the fodder store on the left hand side
and the Laburu’s blacksmith factory on the right.; and finally you reach
our chocolate factory, the end. Well, Fernando was still stuck to my
wheel. Shame on me. Good on him!
There was another interesting
chase, but this time on motorbike and Fernando was the leader this time.
He was returning from San Sebastian when the traffic police spotted a
young kid driving a motorbike and having decided to stop him, a chase
ensued. The opposition was from the motorized traffic police, and was
trying to catch him. As soon as Fernando reached the factory he rushed
straight up to his father’s office. Very soon after, the police arrived.
He new who he was chasing. There were not many bikes in town and the DKW
250 cc Fernando was driving was purchase from a traffic police auction.
The policeman was driving a bike of the same make but of 500 cc. When he
met my father, he explained that he recognized the motorist, and pointing
to Fernando, he thought he was under age to ride a motorbike – you had to
be 15 before you could get a license and he was only 14.
After father obtained from
Fernando the promise not to drive the motorbike, “on the road”, until he
had the license, the policeman was satisfied and that was the end of that
drama. Yes, certainly, he kept his word, the word to his father.
When Fernando left, the motorist
let my father know that the kid could obviously handle the motorcycle very
well despite he being so young.
Fernando was very intelligent (and
a ladies man; my wife, then my fiancée, can testify to it) and very
special, therefore when he finished the “Bachiller” and had to decide
which university course to pursue, he decided, despite his father and
brothers encouraging him to study a science course, like the others, to
study Law. He reasoned that studying Law was easier and he would have more
time to purse his many other intellectual activities. And thus he headed
to Madrid to join the other brothers. And when confronted with the
compulsory Military Service for University graduates, he joined the
Air-Force and not the Army..
We all of us promised our mother
to choose anything but Air-Force for our military service. Number two
brother, Juanito, was flying his machine during the Spanish civil war when
his plane was downed and he lost his life. He was 20 years old. She did
not recover from this accident but Fernando being her special son got her
permission to join the Air-Force. Again, all of us brothers serve in
Infantry Artillery in army camps while he was more comfortable in Sidi
translate here an excerpt from an article “The Adarraga’s Sportive Dynasty”
by Luis Pastor. Kirolak No., 12, where Fernando expresses well the
feeling of the Adarragas towards sport:
real champion, the authentic sportsman, grows from the Sunday family
excursions, from the sportive and cultural environment that exists in
societies like the Basque and Catalan and not from living in a residence
or laboratory. One day they will forget again the myths, that a few times
there are outstanding human beings like those they pretend exists. We must
come back to getting together with our mates after work to play “pelota”
(Basque handball) in the public” fronton” of our town.”
the youngest of the family it was assumed that I was the weakest, and my
father forced me to go and return from Hernani to San Sebastian by
pushbike, every day, while studying. I remember my first championship when
I was 17 years old, in Anoeta. The precious day I had done more than 100
kilometers on the bike and had to jump with my hands sore. I receive a
trophy and my father said
to me: <<
it happened to you the worst that can happen to a sportsman, to win
without having taken it seriously>>”
As it was customary in the family,
Fernando practiced “every” sport: mountaineering was very popular
as the whole family participated and it was fun. Cycling? It was said in
town that the Adarragas were born riding a bike. By three years of age we
could keep our balance on two wheeler and by four we could ride the adult
bike but with our legs under the frame. On our trips to school, to San
Sebastian (40 km daily as we came home for lunch) we did the equivalent of
about two trips around the world. Juanito, Juan Bautista and Fernando were
the best cyclist of the family, after their father.
Pelota (Basque handball) was
another very popular practice, to the extent that our father and Tio Pepe
built a court using one of the chocolate factory walls as the left-hand
side-wall of the “fronton”
In summer, swimming, in the Urumea
river, at Elorrabi, was also very popular. Bernardino Elizaran, our
maternal grandfather lent us chauffeur, and truck to, at the end of the
day’s work, transport us to the river. Some would cycle or run as it was
only at 3 km. this was necessary as we were a great mob ourselves,
enlarged with our cousins the Erice-Adarraga and others, on holidays in
Hernani. I’m referring to those times when swimming in the river wasn’t
that popular. The same as our trips on bicycle to Orio’s beach (at 22 Km)
Rare if there were more than half a dozen other families with us. Those
were the days!
Don Luis forbade us to practice
physical contact sport. He reasoned that we were too hot blooded for them.
And knowing our enthusiasm for the bicycle he dis-encouraged us from
cycling competition, as he knew how many hours the training took and he
wanted us to acquire a University degree. He thought athletics should be
seen as our relaxation sport. When we left the Basque country to study in
(Madrid Bernar Juan Bautista, Fernando and myself) and Valladolid (Jose
Luis) we practiced athletics and a few others like, Olympic handball,
rugby, soccer, cross country etc. Athletics became very popular. We lived
on the University Colleges who were opposite the athletic fields. I was
easy to move across and run and jump.
Fernando practiced high jump and
pole-vaulting mainly and eventually settled for this last one where he
excelled. He became:
Champion and Recordman
pole-vaulting of Spain several times
in Beirut representing Spain in the “Mediterranean Games (1969) and
in the “Juegos Ibero-Americanos in Chile (1960).
He also won the Gold cup
in the International pole-vaulting Competition in Monaco, He said he got
the trophy from Grace Kelly hands. He was very impressed.
Olympic Games, Roma (1960) He
was selected to represent Spain in the Roma Olympic Games.
He was the third brother after Juan Bautista and
Bernardino Honor that he painfully had to renege because of injury.
While training hard, and in full flight, his pole broke, he crashed to the
ground and hurt his back badly. He and we his family suffered a great pain
for this mishap.
National Recordman pole-vaulting. silver Medal "Juegos
Ibero-Americanos "Chile 1960
Mother Benita and his darling
National Champion and