Encarna Hernández, one of the pioneers of Spanish basketball, poses with the shirt with her name given to her by the players of the Spanish team.Raquel Barrera / EL PAÍS
The heart of Spanish sports beats in a flat in Barcelona's L'Eixample.
There lives the Girl of the Hook.
Encarna Hernández is 103 years old, with a lively look, a contagious joy and a memory prodigy, capable of breaking down the smallest detail of the thousands of documents, photographs and objects that turn her home into a museum of basketball and sports in general. .
Its relevance is not measured by the medals or the record of when the Women's League (1964) or the European Cup (1959) had not yet been established, but by its ability to ignite and keep alive the flame of women's sport in very old times. difficult, undervalued and forgotten, especially during the very long lead stage of the Franco regime.
“At that time, playing basketball or riding a motorcycle was frowned upon.
They said it was a macho thing ”, he points out.
His passion cleared all barriers.
She was born in Lorca in 1917. She began to play and met her husband at a game when she was 13 years old, three after her family moved to Barcelona, where her father worked on the occasion of the 1929 World's Fair. In addition to being a player, she was the first coach in Spain, and also served as a referee when necessary.
She is 1.54 meters tall and was known as the Hook Girl for her ability to throw that way.
In 1931 he participated in the founding of the Atlas Club, a pioneer in Spain, and was its absolute top scorer, also surpassing components of the men's team.
With Laietà she won the first Catalan Women's Championship in 1936. She directed the Peña García de L'Hospitalet.
He continued to play even friendly matches during the Civil War.
He won championships in Spain and in 1944 he signed for FC Barcelona, with whom he played until he retired in 1953 to have his only son, Juan Carlos.
The shadow over women's sports is so long that her story remained anonymous until 2013. Chance made a neighboring journalist know about her.
From there, the tributes followed one another.
His life and personality, portrayed in the documentary
La Niña del Gancho
(Filmin, 2016), directed by Raquel Barrera, has seduced sports and especially Spanish basketball.
Elisa Aguilar, Amaya Valdemoro, Laia Palau and the players of the Spanish team venerate her, have visited her on several occasions and maintain regular contact with her.
"He's hooked because of his vitality, because of his accumulation of experience and because of his mental freshness," says Laia Palau.
The Higher Sports Council (CSD) distinguished her in September with the Gold Medal for Sports Merit.
Its president, Irene Lozano, came to her home to deliver it to her and to highlight: “Her teaching deserves the public and institutional gratitude of those who, against the current of the times, already wanted to lay the foundations of equality in our country, being a determined fighter and promoter of women's sport ”.
The plenary session of the Barcelona City Council awarded him the Gold Medal for Sporting Merit this past Friday.
"This medal goes beyond sports: with it we want to recognize a generation of women who are fighters, rebellious and who did not settle for a system that said that sport was a man's thing," says the mayor, Ada Colau.
Encarna broke her tibia and fibula in June, but, with all the precautions due to the pandemic, she continues to go out when she can.
“My dream is basketball, my family and my son.
I have lived and I live for them ”, sentence.
She wanted to be a journalist and continues to collect reviews of current women's basketball games as she began to do before 1930. With a recent newspaper clipping in hand, she expresses her vindictive spirit: “They should give it a bigger space!
That itself is misery and machismo ”.
He enjoys the games on television and supports, above all, the Spanish team, Laia Palau and her teammates.
He comments aloud and, from time to time, reproaches some fashion: "It is not necessary to kiss the shirt, it has to come from the heart."