The Mayan Ball Games

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The Mayan ball game is believed to be one of the oldest sports in the world. The sport was played throughout the entire Mesoamerican region and had many names. The name that the Mayans gave it was Pok-A-tok. The Mayans not only played this ball game for entertainment but it served as a big role in their very own culture as well. The time period is unknown when the game came out but it is estimated to have been around since 2000 B.C.E. The area that the Mayans had control over is what we call Peten today. It was around 800-900 A.D when the Mayan civilization collapsed and left behind many mysteries behind them. They also left a lot of ball courts and ancient temples which archeologist still study today. According to the article, The Ball Game…show more content…
Manuel Aguilar in his article about the Mayan ball game, “ At least in early times, the ballgame was not a sport, but rather a ritual that represented the fight of the opposing and complementary forces of the Universe” (pg 5). With a statement like this we can impose that when the Mayan ball game was first played it was played not as a sport, at first anyway. To the Mayans, their beliefs were thought of as far more superior than anything else among their civilization. The Mayans had the belief that there was a life after death. The Mayans believed that good people who have done good was sent to the heavens to drink and party with the gods. In their culture there were believed to be more than one heaven. The Mayans did not fear death as much as other cultures because in their culture heaven is believed to be paradise. In Dr. Manuel Aguilar’s article he states that in heaven it is a place that “they would never experience sadness, where rest would be an abundance of exquisite food and drink, and where there would be a huge shade tree called Yaxche” (pg 4). A place that can truly be called paradise is awarded to those who are deemed worthy is what we can impose about this culture. In Dr. Manuel’s journal he speaks of a place where the bad people go. That place is called Metnal, the place of Xibalba. This is considered hell or the underworld on which all the bad people who are brought here. In the article, Manuel Aguilar states that “they would be tormented by…show more content…
The court could have been looked at like it was a universe, metaphorically of course. There is a lot of interpretation to the game but evidence suggests that every thing that was related in the game was looked at as part of the universe. The ball could have been likely to have been looked at like it was the sun. And if the ball was the sun it is constantly entering the portals to the underworld time after time (supposing that the goals were really looked at as portals to Xibalba). The other aspects to the game could have also represented not just the moon but some of the other planets and moon that could have been seen by the naked eye. The mayans were very well known for their skills at astronomy. The Mayans are not just famous for their astronomy but also their Mayan Calendar which people still speculate certain events even till this day. The ball, the hoops, even the players were all seen as something greater than what they really were. The mayans understood metaphors and used it to their advantage when it came to terms with how the game was looked as and how it was played. The Popol Vuh which speaks of the origins of humans and the significance of the ball game. In Dr. Manuel Aguilar’s article he tells a story about a pair of heroes who were considered “The Maize God”. The story tells about the twins facing off Xibalba, the god of the underworld, in the Mayan ball game in order
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