Este informe no está disponible en español.
THE ORLANDO SENTINEL
Dominoes Carries Special Meaning For Many Hispanics
by Dan Tracy
June 18, 2000
For Hispanic dominoes players, the game is a link to their past that they fear future generations will lose.
Just as baseball is often passed down from father to son or daughter, the game of dominoes crosses the generations of Hispanics.
"I love it. I just love it," said Jorge Friguls, an almost lifelong dominoes player and news director for television station Univision Channel 63. "It makes you forget all the trials and tribulations."
But some Hispanics, including Friguls, worry dominoes may be losing its luster, especially for offspring growing up in an American culture that most often associates the name of their treasured game with pizza.
Enter Miguel Lugo, an Altamonte Springs ophthalmologist and dominoes enthusiast. He is the author of Competitive Dominoes, How to Play Like a Champion, one of the few English-language books on the subject.
Lugo, 43, wanted to memorialize the game so it might not be lost to Hispanics who are born in the United States and, over time, come to identify more with this country than the homeland of their ancestors.
That`s a tragedy for people such as Lugo and Friguls, both of whom have taught dominoes to their children. For Lugo and Friguls, dominoes is a cornerstone that brings back memories of their youth in Puerto Rico.
"To this day," Lugo wrote in his book, "when I try to visualize a peaceful tropical night in the Caribbean islands, I close my eyes and hear these sounds: the steady trade winds blowing on the palm trees, the gentle surf against the reefs, the surprisingly loud and high-pitched cry of a tiny frog called a coqui ... and the distant laughter and soft tinkling of the shuffled tiles from a neighbor`s dominoes game, carried by the quiet of the evening."
Growing up, both Lugo and Friguls, 42, played Dominoes almost nonstop, whether at home or school, during parties or seaside outings.
"It`s great for the beach," Lugo said. "The wind won`t blow it away."
Dominoes is a seemingly simple game where two teams of two play each other by matching up like-numbered ends of tiles until there are none left. Actually, there are countless strategies to be employed. Lugo compares the complexities of Dominoes to the card game bridge. Several chapters of his book -- 3,000 copies of which have been sold since 1998 -- delve into intricate ways to play dominoes.
The game has been around for at least a millennium, with the oldest-known set dating back to about 1120 A.D., according to the Internet site Gamecabinet.com. Most people think the Chinese invented the game and exported it across the globe, possibly while trading silk.
The name, some contend, is derived from French and refers to a Christian priest`s winter hood. It was black on the outside and white on the inside.
While especially popular in Hispanic countries such as Puerto Rico, dominoes is also played in different forms throughout the world. Mah-jongg is a cousin, along with forty-two.
Lugo, who visits Puerto Rico annually, arranges informal tournaments and games at his home, and participates in contests around the state. Two years ago he won a tournament of the Pan American Medical Association, which is gathering again later this summer at Longboat Key on Florida`s west coast.
His Altamonte Springs office includes several trophies from his victories, and he rarely travels without his own personalized set of dominoes. Each tile bears his initials as well as the design of a transplanted cornea -- a representation of his profession.
Dominoes, he said, is never far from his mind.
"Somewhere," he said, "somebody is playing the game."