The Mayan ballgame

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The Mesoamerican ballgame was a sport played as ritual by prehispanic people for millennia in different versions over time. In parts of Guatemala and Mexico a modern version of the game is still practiced today.

In fact the ancient games rules are no longer known but judging by the current version the goal is to keep the ball in play by hitting it only with the hips, although there are forms which allowed the use of forearms as well, and put the ball in the hoop for immediate victory or accumulate points for the fact that the ball touched the rim.

The ball was made of rubber and weighed an average of 4 kg. The field size varies but is a long narrow track with side walls where the ball bounces. 

The game was a ritual event, but it was also played informally and for entertainment. It could also serve as an alternative to war to resolve conflicts between people.

In Mayan mythology the ballgame is related to death and overcoming it. The field is the transition between life and death; struggle between day and night.

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