In high school, I made a presentation about games in ancient cultures. One game that I was very interested in was a 3.000 year old ballgame played by the Maya's and the Aztecs. People have different opinions about the characteristics of the game and its meaning, but there is evidence that this game existed, because only in Mexico, 600 playing fields have been discovered by archeologs. A lot of information about the ballgame is suggestive, and that's the reason why people hold different opinions about character of the game and the meaning of the game. In this blog, I will tell something about why and how the Maya's played this ballgame. The game was played with two teams, each of 5 persons, who played with a heavy, rubber, ball. The ball was supposed to be heavy, in order to injure one another. The goal was to throw the ball through one of two stone rings that were hanging on the walls. The players were not allowed to touch the ball with their hands, and another important rule was that the ball couldn't touch the ground. The players were allowed to wear protected clothes, but the game was still very dangerous.
One of the Chichén Itzá rings
The ballgame was not just a sport, but the game also had a religious meaning, the players imitated an old mythe through their play. I think it is interesting to see how 3.000 years ago, people already played sports that are not even that different from modern sports. It also shows how important sports and games are for people. Even though the reasons to play sports and games may differ (not many sports today have a religious meaning), I think that people will always have the drive to compete and to be the best and therefore, they will always play sports and games and and that is why I think people will keep inventing new games.
Even today, centuries later, in certain areas in Mexico people still play variants of the 3.000 year old ballgame. I found a movie on youtube that shows how the game is played (indoors) today:
What do you think of the Mayan ballgame? Isn't it fascinating that people still play this game in Mexico?