Tuesday, 7 October 2008

ENG: The Duels of the Human Tower Championships

Although all colles (teams) which take part in the “Concurs de Castells” are very good, most of them do not have any chances to be the overall winners. For that reason, it is not surprising that there are many competitions within the competition.

The technically most interesting duel takes place between the teams from Valls, which both aspire to be the best colla of Catalonia. Valls is located only twenty minutes away from Tarragona, so they always have a lot of supporters in the audience. This year, however, although the Colla Vella dels Xiquets de Valls and the Colla Joves Xiquets de Valls came second and third, respectively, many of us will above all remember how their castells fell apart. The Joves tried to repeat the beautiful “5 de 9 amb folre” which they made during the Diada de Sant Fèlix, but the top child (enxaneta) lost her grip. The Vella, on the other hand, managed to assemble (carregar) that construction as well as a “pilar de 8 amb folre i manilles”, but did not dismantle (descarregar) either of them.

The second duel takes place between the colles from Tarragona. While the “younger one”, Colla Jove Xiquets de Tarragona” had only had a slightly higher score than the “older one”, Xiquets de Tarragona” in the ranking during the summer, this time their performance was far better. With 1.713 points, the Jove finished as number four, while the Xiquets only as number nine (988 points).

The third duel is between the top colles from the Catalan capital and here I will allow myself to be provocative and predict that there has been a shift on the throne. The Castellers de Barcelona are older (founded in 1969) and have a more impressive track record, but it were the Castellers de Sants (founded 1993) who excelled in the Plaça de braus (1.388 v.s. 1.049 points). “Som SANTSacionals” ("We’re SANTSational") is a telling reaction which I have received on the YouTube-clip showing how Sants, for the first time ever, assemble a tower of 9 levels (3 de 9 amb folre; carregat).

The fourth duel, finally, is based on historic achievement rather than geography since it is between the Castellers de Lleida and the Xicots de Vilafranca (i.e. a second colla from the small town where the winners come from). Since the Xicots are from the Penedès area where I live, on any other day they would be my favourites, but I happened to sit right in front of Lleida during the championship. This colla had a higher ranking before the competition and won the duel with a small margin (1.049 v.s. 912 points) but what really made an impression on me was the happiness they radiated when achieveing things together. That is the true spirit of castellers – probably the most iconic symbol of proper team work.

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Here you can find the full result list of the "Concurs de Castells", Tarragona 2008.

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Technorati tags: Barcelona, Castellers, Catalonia, Human Towers, Penedès

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