The Mayan Ball Game – Were The African Olmecs First To Play Basketball?

Were The Ancient African Olmecs The First to Play Basketball?

mesooamerican_with_ball-960x472The Mayan Ball Game called pitz came to be an important part of Maya political, spiritual, and social life. Played using a definite rubber softball running in proportions from that of a competitive softball up to a soccer ball, participants would probably attempt to bounce the ball without using their hands by using stone hoops attached to the sides of the particular ball court. The actual ball court independently became a focal point among Maya cities and consequently symbolized the main city’s prosperity and even power.

The actual playing stadium appears to be in the form of an I with higher platforms on each side of the court allowing for many fans. Movable stone court markers termed hacha commonly depicting animals or skulls were situated around the perimeter of stadium. Murals depicting captives, fighters, Creation beliefs, along with transfers of political power from one leader to the next were actually painted all around the ball court. The ballgame tended to give bordering metropolitan areas a replacement for warfare with regard to resolving differences.

Ballplayers donned protective gear through the entire match in order to prevent bodily injury because of the really hard rubberized ball thatThe Mayan Ball Game In Action - Court sometimes weighed up to 20 lbs. In order to safeguard ribs and also the entire torso competitors might wear a yoke of leather or perhaps wood about their waists. Pure stone hachas appeared to be occasionally attached to the front of the yoke following the competition for ceremonial activities.

They also put on extra padding around knees and also arms, and large stylized animal headdresses that might have depicted what they believed to be their own animal counterparts or way. Handstones known as manopla were definitely used to hit the ball by using additional force, and could have been used to launch the ball in play.

The main spiritual tale most linked to the ballgame is that of the Maize Gods and the Hero Twins from the Quich Maya book of creation, the Popol Vuh. For the story goes, the Maize Gods appeared to be serious ballplayers who had been mortally wounded and buried on the court by the Lords of Xibalba (the Underworld) for bothering them with the noises of the competition. The head of one of the Maize gods appeared to be hung from a tree within the Underworld, and as a daughter of the Lord of the Underworld passes, it spit straight into her hands, astonishingly impregnating her. The daughter bore twin sons, the Hero Twins, who avenge their very own father and uncle’s deaths by means of resurrecting them within the ballcourt. The Hero Twins go on to make it through the ordeals associated with Hell given to them by the death gods, while the reborn Maize Gods remain upon the main ballcourt meant for humans to honor. The Maya as a result considered that it was required to take part in the competition for their own survival. The ballgame furnished the chance to demonstrate devoutness towards the gods by way of sacrificing captured kings and additionally high lords, or even the losing competitors of the competition.

Popol Vuh

The Mayan Ball Game-ChichenhoopMuch of Maya customs revolved throughout the text of the Popol Vuh, or Book of Counsel. The written text recalls the creation of humans by means of the Heart of Sky and also the Sovereign Plumed Serpent in a number of attempts, making use of materials including clay, wood, and lastly maize. The most crucial gods involved Itzmna, lord of life; Ali Kin, the sun god; Ah Puch, god of death; Chac, god of water and rain; Yumkax, the corn god; and Ixchel, goddess of the moon, pregnancy, and of abundance. The Maya thought there was clearly as many as 13 heavens above earth and 9 underworlds down below it. A god ruled each one of these skies and lower worlds. The Maya respected all of these many gods described in the Popol Vuh with sacrificial ceremonies through which food, pottery, animals, and even humans were offered.


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