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It’s a sport… lose an eye — or a heart

18 March 2010

Last Friday, Mexico City authorities announced a new construction project… for something very old:  a full ulama court, in the pre-Colombian  style.  The game, which has survived for millenia has undergone a few minor changes.  My translation from SDPNoticias:

The game , in which competing teams try to pass a rubber ball through a stone hoop on a wall, using only their hips to propel it, was an important part of Pre-Colombian cultures, including the Aztecs.

At the end of the game some of the winners were sacrificed to the gods.

The game is still played throughout Mexico and Central America, and  groups and authorities in Mexico City are seeking to popularize the tradition.

The new set of fields will have an area of about 9,500 square meters with construction costs estimated at three million pesos ($ 240,000).

Human sacrifices will be strictly forbidden.

Here’s a demonstration game of the Mayan version, from Parque Xcaret.  The modern version — more like soccer than ritual basketball — is played regularly by ordinary (but extremely healthy) guys around Mazatlan, but not as a tourist attraction.   I don’t think there’s any rule that says you CAN’T rip the winner’s heart out, but then the rule book is about two inches thick and printed in small type, so maybe it does somewhere.  It’s a complicated game.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. otto permalink
    18 March 2010 6:56 am

    no sacrifices? Humph…takes all the fun out of it. Freakin’ nanny states these days…..

    Though thinking about it, being sacrificed for winning isn’t exactly the kind of incentive bonus that would go down well these days.

  2. Don Quixote permalink
    18 March 2010 7:36 am

    You are right those, men look extremly healthy and attractive with nice firm abdominals.

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