A Basque in Boise

Don’t miss Oinkari’s 3rd Annual Sagardotegi Ciderhouse Dinner on Saturday, October 18

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Join the Oinkari Basque Dancers for a night of feasting, music and dancing, when we turn downtown Boise’s Basque Center into a traditional Basque sagardotegi (ciderhouse.) Ciderhouse fare is traditionally a menu of cod sautéed with onions, peppers and garlic and a cod revuelto (omelet), thick-cut steaks as the main course, and bread, walnuts and Basque cheese.

The highlight of the night, of course, will be the Basque hard cider, sagardoa, which will run freely from big wooden barrels, with periodic toasts of the cidermaster yelling “txotx!” to signal guests to refill their glasses.

Ticket prices are $50/person or $90/pair, which includes a family-style dinner of high-quality Basque ingredients, your fill of sagardoa (hard cider), and entertainment from Basque folk musicians. This is a fundraiser benefitting the Oinkari Basque dancers and the Basque music group Amuma Says No, who are raising money to travel back to the Basque region of Spain to showcase Boise culture and learn new dance repetoire.

When: Saturday, October 18 at 6:00pm
Where: Basque Center ( 611 W Grove St)
Tickets: Online at http://www.oinkari.org/sagardotegi, or email txotx@oinkari.org to send contact details.

Seating is limited, and only paid reservations will be honored. Reservation deadline is October 11th.

Sagardotegi


Boise’s Anduiza Fronton 100 Year Anniversary celebration on September 27

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A few days ago we sent out a short survey to get the public’s opinion on how to celebrate Boise’s fronton 100 Year Anniversary. Most of you preferred the dinner and entertainment option, and your wish is our command!

I will share more details as soon as they become available, but for now, please save a spot on your calendars for September 27, at 2 pm, at the Anduiza Fronton (619 Grove Street). The $15 admission ticket will let you enjoy light snacks and drinks for the afternoon, plus the opportunity to watch a few pala and pelota games.

100 year poster2

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The Guardian: What Athletic Bilbao can teach brands about risk and innovation

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There is no way I can pass the opportunity to share this article from The Guardian. It’s not just bias Athletic fans raving about our team’s philosophy anymore, the world is taking notice as well. I’d go on, but Simon James explains it way better than I ever could.

What Athletic Bilbao can teach brands about risk and innovation

Simon James, Guardian Professional

Athletic Bilbao's midfielder Ander Herrera (R) celebrates with Athletic Bilbao's forward Aritz Aduriz (L) after scoring during the Spanish league football match Athletic Club Bilbao vs Sevilla FC at the San Mames stadium in Bilbao on April 27, 2014.  AFP PHOTO / RAFA RIVASRAFA RIVAS/AFP/Getty Images

Athletic Bilbao’s midfielder Ander Herrera (R) celebrates with Athletic Bilbao’s forward Aritz Aduriz (L) after scoring against Sevilla at San Mames on April 27, 2014. AFP PHOTO / RAFA RIVASRAFA RIVAS/AFP/Getty Images

Imagine a sports team from a city consisting entirely of players from that city, never trading or buying players from outside the city, consistently doing well, regularly selling their best players and then still doing well. The club refuses to pick anybody from any other city. Oh, and there is another popular club in the city that takes half of the available citizens to play for the arch rivals, depriving the club of half of the available talent pool.

That’s what happens at Athletic Bilbao, a Basque team competing in the Spanish La Liga competition. Athletic only field Basque players. There are 2.6m Basques in Spain – equivalent to the metropolitan area of Pittsburgh or Liverpool.

Athletic have never been relegated in their history (sharing the honour with Barcelona and Real Madrid), and this year, hidden behind the grand achievements of Atletico Madrid (containing two Belgian, two Uruguayans, four Brazilians, a Portuguese and a Turk) qualified for the European Champions League by finishing fourth in La Liga. This week they beat SSC Napoli to qualify for the group stages of the tournament for the very first time.

The best Basque players in the world – Alonso, Llorente, Martinez, Illarramendi and Azpilicueta play for the biggest teams in the world – Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Juventus and Chelsea – paying fees and salaries well out of the reach of Athletic Club.

So how does Athletic Bilbao continue to win in an unfair game – that makes Moneyball look like a walk in the park? There are no drafts, or collective bargaining, or profit shares or luxury tax in football (sorry, soccer).

They built the world’s finest youth academy system. Without the best youth academy system (or ‘cantera’ as it is known in Spain) they would die. They do it, because it is their only choice. They say necessity is the mother of invention – but that doesn’t go halfway to convey the importance of Athletic Bilbao as a symbol of the Basque people.

Is it necessary for the Yankees to have a good farm system, or Chelsea FC a good youth academy? No of course it’s not – because they can go out and buy any talent they need. Chelsea haven’t developed a regular first team player from their own academy since John Terry almost 20 years ago (and he joined from West Ham). The Yankees have generated only 38 home runs from 1st round draft picks since Derek Jeter in 1992 – and 32 of those were scored by one guy.

Innovation doesn’t need millions of dollars, or designer bearded boy-men drinking expensive coffee in designer sandals; it needs an authentic do or die situation. A lack of budget presents a greater sense of urgency than deep pockets. A burning platform is more likely to generate creative disruption than strong quarter on quarter growth trends. Steve Jobs’ return and subsequent turnaround of Apple was do or die.

So why is it that those with the least resources are most adept at innovation? Some of the companies with the biggest R&D budgets in the world have failed – Kodak, Blackberry, Nokia and Xerox to name a few from a very narrow sector. In 2009, Motorola spent more on R&D than Google. Unencumbered with former glories, or profitable business to defend, startups represent the major thrust of innovation because that is all they have. Yet, many big businesses seem to prefer slow, but terminal and inevitable decline. In recent months commentators have suggested that an increasingly diverse list of things is in terminal decline – Tesco, town centres, Manchester United and the UK – none of which are in a position to innovate their way out of trouble. That 6th century BC raconteur Sun Tzu once quipped: “A slow death is a death nonetheless”.

When you don’t have options, decision-making is taken off the table, and when decision-making is taken off the table, there is no fear that you might be making the wrong decisions. Accountants call that fear opportunity cost, and its consequences are called risk. Yet we ascribe far more risk to things that we have not done before than those things we have never done. It’s the human condition of familiarity bias.

To compound matters, due to the cognitive bias of loss aversion, where humans place much greater value on avoiding losses than generating gains, we favour the path of least risk. Risk aversion in marketing is a risky proposition. The primary role of marketing in a business is growth. So if your decision making is focused on minimizing risk, by definition you cannot be maximising growth.

It is inevitable that Athletic Bilbao have the best cantera in the world of football. It is the only path to success. It is equally inevitable that the Yankees or Chelsea are terrible at youth development. If you want to consistently and successfully innovate in marketing, you need to embrace innovation as your philosophy. Innovation is not the NPD department. It is not that top secret Project Phoenix Omega. It is a strategy designed to maximize growth by embracing the risk where others fear to tread. It is seeing that risk as the reason why returns are so high, not as a barrier to entry. For Athletic Bilbao there is no risk in their strategy because it is the only path open to them. There is no alternative. No opportunity cost. No fear.

Simon James is global lead for marketing performance analytics at SapientNitro

For the original article, click here.

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Random Monday walk down memory lane

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Saab_9-5_cupholder_detailI was invited to a birthday party last night for one of my oldest friends in Boise, so after a very productive day of home-making and organizing, I showered, packed a snack and a bottle of wine, and headed to her house. As I took a left on Cole towards the connector, I saw this dude taking his sweet time to cross the road a few yards ahead. As I got closer to the freeway entrance, I realized he was not only carrying a guitar, he was playing it as he strolled along.

All of a sudden, I found myself in Portugalete some 20 years, when I first started dating Mike. We were at the bus station going to (or coming from, I don’t remember) Algorta, and Mike was thirsty. We found a candy store where he bought a coke, which he proceeded to open and drink as soon as we got out to the street. I was like, what the heck is he doing? It guess it’s normal here, but I wasn’t used to seeing people drinking soda while taking a walk.

I felt the same way when I stepped into our first Saab, a white 900S. Mike had bought it in Boise and drove it to L.A. to pick me up. I was freshly arrived from Bilbao, suitcase in hand, $80 in cash. I was nervous, everything was new, different. The scenery, the sounds. I was overwhelmed. In the car, I noticed this round circle made of plastic sticking out of the center console, and for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what you’d put in there. These days, cars in Spain also come equipped with cup holders, but 20 years ago nobody thought of drinking coffee as they drove to work.

As it turns out, it didn’t take me long to make cup holders my dearest friends. However, I still won’t carry a beverage with me if I’m walking around town or use a drive-through if I can’t help it. I won’t deny their convenience, but I feel lazy and like a cheater in the rare occasions when I have used them. Not to mention the weirdness of talking through a metal pole with a teenager who always sounds like Darth Vader. The kids think it’s stupid that I make them get out of the car and into the Taco ‘Hell’ when we could simply keep out belts on and roll through.

What can I say? Some people refuse to log onto Facebook from their mobile devices to reduce impersonal interactions as much as possible; I avoid drive-throughs.


Toy-filled chocolate eggs now legal in the US. YAY!

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You are probable as shocked as I was when I learned that Kinder Surprised Chocolate Eggs (from now on KSCE in this blog post, to save time and key strokes) had been finally legalized in the US after years of prohibition. Hey, at least you’re getting it from me and not from your 9-year old daughter, which was quite embarrassing. In my defense, growing up in Europe where KSCEs are sold in all the coffee shops and candy stores, I never even contemplated an alternative universe banning these little bundles of sweetness that have made thousands of children happy for the last few decades.

I don’t know if it was the shock or my close-mindedness, but I couldn’t, for the life of me, wrap my head around the news. What do you mean legalized? Doesn’t that imply they were illegal at some point? I just couldn’t figure out a reason why the US would place a ban on KSCE sales. Then, I ran into this other piece from the International Business Times, which talks a little bit more in depth about the ban and left me confused again, as it is dated June 2014 but it states that the ban remains - the previous article was from 2013. Lucky for you, nothing escapes my Google researching skills, and after a couple of minutes of additional surfing, I realized that Kinder Eggs are still banned. It is Choco Treasure Eggs that have managed to avoid the U.S. ban thanks to a new idiot-proof design.

Toy-filled chocolate egg with idiot-proof design

Toy-filled chocolate egg with idiot-proof design

And don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about the kids being idiots. Have you ever met a kid who wanted a KSCE because he was craving chocolate? (Sorry, rhetorical question for people who’ve have traveled abroad). In any case, and for your information, kids don’t give a crap about the chocolate, they just want to rip the egg apart and play with whatever toy is tucked inside. They are not called Kinder Surprise for nothing, surprise!

I can understand safeguarding our kids’ well being, but I’m pretty sure that the chances of a 9-old shooting her instructor with an Uzi, or a 5-year old accidentally killed by a gunshot at home, or an ISU professor almost ripping his nuts off with an unholstered gun inside a classroom are way higher than a kid choking on a toy-filled chocolate egg. But hey, what do I know? I’m just one of those Europeans with European views on gun control.

So yeah, let’s concentrate on banning the smuggling of hollow candy into the land of the free while teaching our babies to hold automatic assault rifles so they can go shopping at Kroger.


Athletic de Bilbao advances to Champions League with a 3-1 win over Napoli. Of course.

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Athletic to Champions

It’s Friday. The game was on Wednesday. I can’t imagine any real Athletic fan still clueless about our team’s win over Napoli, which got us into Champions League. But just in case you were in a coma, vacationing in the Sahara or something weird like that, Athletic Bilbao celebrated their first official game at the stunning new San Mames stadium by qualifying for the Champions League group stages with a 3-1 win over Napoli in their second-leg play-off clash.

Judging by the videos I’ve see so far, life stopped for for a few hours in Bilbao on Wednesday while the game was on. Hell, even Napoli fans were shocked by the good vibes and celebratory atmosphere surrounding the stadium before the game. Needless to say, emotion and cheering multiplied after the game, when players and fans celebrated the victory together.

According to The Bleacher Report, Athletic had never lost against Italian opposition at the old San Mames, and they continued their excellent home record at the upgraded venue with a brilliant performance against the Italians, which completed a 4-2 aggregate victory.

Aritz Aduriz scored a double and Ibai Gomez added a third in front of a vibrant home crowd after Marek Hamsik had put the Italians ahead against the run of play at the start of the second half.

For the winners and losers in this encounter, check out The Bleacher Report complete article, Athletic Bilbao vs. Napoli: Winners and Losers from Champions League Qualifier.

The official schedule for the Champions League has yet to be released, but the groups are already set. Athletic will play in Group H against Porto, Shakhtar Donetsk, and Bate Borisov.

I was totally relieved when I saw that we avoided Ludogorets in the raffle. You might have never heard of them, but the Bulgarian team made history on Wednesday by defeating Steaua Bucuresti in the penalty kicks. Ludogorets’ goalkeeper was expelled from the game during overtime, and with all three substitutes already used, central defender Cosmin Moti was forced to go in goal for the resulting penalty shootout. He saved two goals and gave his team the victory and the pass to Champions League. I hope Real Madrid crashes and burns when they play against them.

For more information on Champion League groups, visit Washington Post’s The Champions League groups are out. Here are four must-see matches.

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Hurry! Last day to donate to online publication Basque Tribune and win an exciting trip

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logo

A few weeks ago I told you about a pretty cool way to help Basque Tribune showcase the Basque Country to the world and win a wonderful trip. Originally, the submission deadline was August 15th, but to to some technical difficulties experienced by the website, the folks at Basque Tribune decided to extend the term to participate in the promotion until Monday, August 25.

Basque Tribune provides information on the Basque Country, in English, but in a little different way than other sites; it doesn’t provide everyday news, but instead pieces of interest written by experts and specialists in various fields including: politics, economy, culture, sports, history, society, and Basque language and a special section on the Basque Country.

How to make a donation?
Make a deposit in one of the options offered here. (Visa, Mastercard, or Paypal).

For every 10 Euros donated you will receive one raffle number for the deawing. When you make a donation, please send us an e-mail with your name and reference of deposit to trip@basquetribune.com and they will immediately send you your raffle number(s) for the drawing.

What can you win?

If your number is drawn, you will win 2 round-trip flights and hotel of double occupancy for one week in the Basque city of your choice. If the winner is from the Basque Country the trip will be to New York City.

Remember that you will earn a raffle number with each donation of 10 Euros to Basque Tribune.

The trip can be scheduled during the 12 months following the drawing date, except for high tourist season at the destination.

Promotion runs from February 15, 2014 to August 25, 2014. Drawing will be held on September 1, 2014 before the Notary Public Mercedes Hernaiz Gómez-Dégano. (This promotion has been registered at the Department of the Interior of the Basque Government. Contest regulations are held at the office of the aforementioned Notary Public.)

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The end of summer

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Coming back from the Basque Country this summer was mostly anticlimactic. Compared with how I usually feel the month after my arrival, I can’t say I’m disappointed; I’ll take apathy over four weeks of moping and despair any day of the week. Part of it was leaving my kids behind with my folks for a few days, which somehow made my return seem incomplete, like I was physically in Boise but thanks to my family’s dexterity at Facebook and WhatsApp, still back home otherwise. The other part was hanging out with my Boise friends, who are simply awesome. So I was able to get back into the groove of daily life in America with a chunk (well, two chunks) of me still away. I went back to work only eight hours after landing in Boise, but I felt like the vacation wasn’t quite over yet. The kids finally returned a few days ago, and as ready as I was to squeeze them, I felt bad for my parents and sister, who must now wait another year until it’s their turn again.

For the last two weeks I have been waiting for melancholy to take over, preparing myself to overcome those feelings of sadness that assault me every year before the fall. So far, nothing. Did I, after 18 years, finally make peace with the dichotomy of my life and didn’t even notice? Maybe the weekly psychology sessions turned out to be more fruitful than I thought, giving me the push I needed to accept my situation, to live each of my worlds as separate entities, two bubbles to be enjoyed within their own limits, knowing that blending will only happen on vacation when we fly over or my family comes here to visit.

I must admit, however, that I have been working really hard at changing my outlook on a lot of things: work, responsibilities, kids, relationships, the interaction with friends and family, even the interaction with people I really don’t give a shit about. So maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised that my general attitude eventually caught on with my efforts. It is a work in progress, no doubt about it, but I no longer drag my feet (as long) when I feel something is wrong and it is up to me to make a change. And when it’s not, I deal with those issues in the best possible way. Let’s take my kids and their relationship with my family, for example. We can’t change being apart for eleven months out of the year, but we have the Internet, smartphones, iPads and… Skype! Today, my dad became the proud owner of a sparkling new account on his mobile phone, following in the steps of his wife and daughter. Now, all of them can be individually connected to my kids at pretty much any time.

Other times, however, there is no alternative but to take the ‘Fuck it’ (or its variation, ‘Fuck you’) approach to certain situations. It takes time to reach that point and it is sad when you realize you’re there, but man… is it liberating or what? Negativity lifts and it’s time to put all that energy to work in a more productive way.

So, bring on the ski season!! Kidding, haha. I haven’t changed that much. It’s still me here, you know? An imperfect human being trying her best who, nonetheless, reserves the right to get pissed and blow up if the situation warrants it in the future.


You can now sign up for Basque language classes at the Basque Museum

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basquetheme_logo

Basque language classes are just around the corner at the Basque Museum & Cultural Center, beginning on September 4. The teachers are all enthusiastic and ready to go, and with the upcoming Jaialdi celebrations, brushing up on one’s Euskara may be just the ticket.  Classes cost $65 per semester for members ($80 for non-members).  If you have any questions, let Annie Gavica know by email at AnnieG@basquemuseum.com or by calling the Basque Museum at (208) 343-2671.  They would love to have you!

Feel free to pass this note along to any others that may be interested.  Beginner’s Basque will be taught by Megan (Ottoman) Vondemkamp on Mondays 6-8 pm, Intermediate by Itxaso Cayero on Thursdays 6:30-8:30pm, and Advanced by Oihana Andion on Mondays 6:30-8:30pm.

Sign up by clicking here!


How would you celebrate Boise’s fronton 100th year anniversary?

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Courtesy of boisebasquetour.wordpress.com

Courtesy of boisebasquetour.wordpress.com

Did you know that the 100th year anniversary of the Anduiza Fronton Building is fast approaching?

A century might sound like nothing special for most Europeans (for example my hometown, Bilbao, is over 700 years old), but it is quite rare here in the West. Located in the middle of downtown Boise’s Basque Block, this building holds a special meaning for the city’s Basque community because it houses Boise’s only fronton, a three-walled court used as playing area for pelota and pala. The Anduiza Building was built as a boarding house for sheepherders by the Anduiza family in 1914, and the first pelota game was played a couple of years later.

Recently, our fronton’s milestone sparked some interest for the Boise Weekly, where you can find reporter Jessica Murri’s wonderful article: A Beautiful Room: 100 years of pala at the Anduiza fronton. Before that, the Idaho Statesman ran an article titled Anduiza Fronton, a Boise icon. Boise’s Mark Bieter also wrote a very nice and personal piece about the fronton in 2012, entitled My Favorite Room.

We think that a milestone such as this one deserves some attention and a big celebration, and we wanted to gather your input as to which would be the best way to do so. Please, take a second to choose one of the options below and let us know!

Eskerrik asko!