The most ancient sport in America is the Ancient Mesoamerican Ball Game
Mesoamerican ball game is the oldest known sport among the Americas. Its
origins are traced from the southern Mexico over 3700 years ago. For some of
the pre-Columbian cultures, it was used as a ritual, social activity and
political activity involving the entire society. It took place in some I-shaped
buildings can be recognized in, archaeological sites called ball courts (Pool,
2007). There are approximately 1,300 ball courts known in Mesoamerica today.
ball game was of interest to me because it offers an explicit example of some
of the socio-economic activities that I had not yet learnt from my pother readings
on the history of the Americans. Moreover, I have a passion for games and so it
is interesting to see that the culture of gaming and prestige brought by such
games is a trend that has been there from the distant past.
a)Where was the game played?
game was played in particular open buildings referred to as ball courts. The
buildings were usually laid out in the form of a capital I consisting of high
buildings that delimitated a central court. The platforms had some sloping
walls and benches where the ball was allowed to bounce. Other buildings and
facilities of which a majority of them was made of perishable materials
surrounded the ball courts. The masonry constructions involved walls that were
low with small shrines and platforms where the audience would watch the game
(Taladoire, 2001 p. 100)
b)How was the ball game played?
points to a variety of games played using a rubber band in the ancient times.
The most 2widespread game was the “hip game” that was played by opposing teams
with the number of players varying. The main aim of the game was to put the
ball into the end zone of the opponents without the use of hands or the feet,
but only the hips were allowed to touch the game. The scoring of the game used
various point systems but there are no existing accounts that document how the
scoring was done and also the rules of the match (Taladoire, 2001).
c)Who was involved in the games?
ballplayers were mostly men of noble origins as the winners gained wealth and
social prestige. The sponsors were mostly the leaders or those that aspired to
be leaders; The ritual specialists were also involved as there were religious
ceremonies before and after the game. The audience was open to all the members
of the community and even some visitors from the neighboring towns. The game
also attracted gamblers since there was a lot of betting involved (Pool, 2007).
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