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Mesoamerican ballgame

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Reviving a 3,000-year-old Ancient Ballgame

Long before basketball and soccer, ancient Mayans were hitting the park to play rounds of Mesoamerican ballgame. Dating back to 3000 B.C., the game was played with a solid rubber ball that could only be hit by a player’s hip. Today, in Hidalgo, Mexico, a group of athletes are determined to bring back the ancient ballgame and honor the traditions of their ancestors.

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MESOAMERICAN BALLGAME-2.flv

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MESOAMERICAN BALLGAME-1.flv

Game of Life . Mayan Ball Game "Pok ta Pok"

Audiovisual of the first ¨Pok Ta Pok¨ World Cup Mayan ball game in Pisté, Yucatan, Mexico in September 2015. Five teams from Belize, Guatemala and Mexico gathered to play this sacred and ceremonial sport.

Mayan ball player José Manrique, who organised this first World Cup of its kind, says he wants to recuperate the spirit of his ancestors and motivate young Mayans to recognise the greatness of their culture.

The sport is more than just a game. Before the match, players evoke the Lords of the four cardinal points: Bacab of the East for protection and health; Bacab of the West for protection; Bacab of the North for enlightenment and strength; Bacab of the South for abundant harvest, female fertility and good health for children and the elderly. Then they invoke the God Hunahpu, the most important Mayan deity, and the 13 supreme Gods for protection and abundance. They ask the Lord of Death, who reins over Xibalba, the underworld, to respect their game and not to intervene on any player´s behalf.

Pok ta Pok is one of the most important rituals from Mesoamerican culture. The sacred ¨Popol Vuh,¨ or ¨Book of the Community¨ written around 1550 by the Mayan Quiche people in today´s Guatemala, describes the game as a representation of Divine Mayan Twins defeating the ¨Ajawab,¨ God of the underworld.

The Mayan ball game was popular across Mesoamerica and is played with one´s hips or arms. Different regions play by different rules. The goal is to shoot the ball through a ring on the wall, which ends the game.

The ball, made from a rubber tree, represents the movements of the sun and other stars, and can weigh
anywhere between half a kilogram and four kilograms.

Pok ta Pok is one of several varieties of the Mesoamerican ballgame, a ceremonial game played since 1,400 B.C. by the pre-Columbian natives from this ancient civilisation. At least 1,500 ball courts have been found in the Mesoamerica, which is today´s southern Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador y Belice, western Honduras, Nicaragua y Costa Rica.

Teams
“Ek Balam”, Yo Creek, Belize
San Juan Comalapa, Chimaltenango, Guatemala
Dirección General de Educación Física, Guatemala
“Pucxical Keej”, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, México
Chapab de las Flores, Yucatán, México

Interview
José de Jesús Manrique Esquivel

Shaman/H-mem
José Guadalupe Tecam

Mayan Songs and Prayers
Lorenzo Moisés Díaz Alcocer

Flutes
Song: Ru q´ojom ya´(Water Music song)
Played by: Ajpop Tijax & Josué Cristal
From Chimaltenango, Guatemala

Drums
Prehispanic band, Chapab, Yucatán, México

Locations
Yaxchilán, Chiapas, México
Toniná, Chiapas, México
Cobá, Quintana Roo, México
Chapab, Yucatán, México
Ek Balam, Yucatán, México
Chichén Itzá, Pisté, Tinum, Yucatán, México
Grutas Balankanché, Tinum, Yucatán México
Tepetlixpa Seed Bank, México State, México
Museo Nacional de Antropología de México

For more Mayan stories visit this playlist:



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Mayan Ball Game pt. 1

Mayan Ball Game

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#HispanicHeritageMonth Saluting LatinoAthletes

#HispanicHeritageMonth Saluting LatinoAthletes

Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15. We would like to salute ALL #LatinoAthletes living their dreams of playing professionally.

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The Mayan Ball Game

Multimedia presentation about the Pok ta Pok, the ancient Mayan Ball Game.



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Traditional Mayan ball game played with balls of fire .

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