At 17 years of age, I left my home town for the first time to study engineering at I.C.A.I in Madrid. I continued playing handball with SEU, and later with Plus-Ultra and soccer, alternating with I.C.A.I and “Colegio Mayor Cisneros” (University College Residence) I would play the league with one and the “Cup” with the other. I remember that one year I received both trophies.
I also play athletics for a while, until our Italian coach Mora decided for me. I liked to compete in pole-vaulting –before my brother Fernando joined in—and javelin throwing. But according to the coach my future was in running 10.000 meters. I did not like long distance running, too boring going around the same circle so many times, so I decided to quit athletics and concentrate in handball that I liked and had a better future.
Living at the “Colegios Mayores”, a few steps from the Ciudad Universitaria sporting complex was a bargain. From my room at the Cisneros, I could watch the tennis courts, the football, handball, and rugby fields, the basketball court and the athletics tracks. At one stage I shared a room with Juan Bautista and Bernar. Then changed to the nearby Nebrija where Juanba was the second director. This meant that we could encourage each other to go training. Not that we needed much encouragement! We loved it!
First chance to be an international player. Captain Ortega, confessed me that he rung to my residence a few months earlier, to give me the good news that I had been selected, in the National Handball team, to play the World Championships in Berlin, that summer. But Juanba, who answered the phone, decided to ring father to ask for his permission, before telling me. Don Luis decided that I had better dedicate my efforts to prepare for the exams and that it would be better to keep it quiet. First chance to be an international player lost! Yes, it hurt me a bit!
Indoor handball. The popularity of handball of 11 players decayed fast when a new handball game of 7 players “arrived” in Madrid. My team, Plus Ultra was selected to play the inaugural match of the new game. Captain Ortega gave us instructions of how to play. The match was played in the “Fiesta Alegre” fronton. I remember that the width was not up to standard but it did not matter.
It is a very fast and dynamic game. I wished at the time, that handball were professional, so that I could dedicate to it in preference to my studies. But that would have been against father’s advice: he would explain to us: if you break a leg your carrier is jeopardized. And at best when you reach the 30s, you are finished. On the contrary, you can take you professional carrier wherever you go and the older you are the better they pay you.
Today, indoors handball is a professional and an Olympic sport.
. Spain Wins Handball World Cup in Tunisia