Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Pelota Maya

I had never heard of Mayan Ball until we moved to Chiapas (although Caitlin knew about it from her time down here during her study abroad). It is a game with many variations, but it is played with a ball that ranges from 2-3 kilos, and the purpose of the game is to get the ball through a vertical hoop. This game was played anciently in many Mayan civilizations, and recently they started a league here in Chiapas for youth who want to revive the tradition.
We knew a couple of people on the team, and it was a lot of fun to watch them. Anciently, there were sacrifices associated with the game, but that element wasn't reincorporated in this league... luckily. There are a lot of rules we didn't understand, but we did understand that you can only hit the ball with your forearm (not hand), head, hip, and thigh. If you touch it with any other part of the body it is a turnover. 

It is also not a contact sport. The teams stay on their designated sides of the court. There was a lot of whistle blowing we didn't understand, sometimes they let the ball drop and bounce a few times - but the same player could not touch it if it bounced - but they could keep it up in the air for more than one hit. It was pretty confusing, but a lot of fun to be a part of.

They started the game with some traditional dances to the jaguar, serpent, sun god, wind god, sky god, etc. We knew one of the dancers too, so he explained who they were dancing to beforehand, although we didn't know which dance was for whom. 
Our friend Villaney who was on the team.
Us with Villaney and Mayra.
It was really interesting seeing them play this game - and even more fascinating to be so close to where it originated and be able to see the original courts in the ruins. We were trying to think of what type of game we would play that is from our ancestors and we couldn't come up with any ancient European games. Maybe we just aren't cultured enough to know our own history. Square dancing, maybe? If we think back to our pioneer roots. Ha!

Here is a little video that shows the game in action:

1 comment:

  1. Besides being an interesting game is part of our culture of our grandparents as important to have contact with our mother nature game...!!

    Greetings to all...!! :D