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The fields of the ball game at Chichén Itzá

The fields of the ball game at Chichén Itzá

The ball game was the most popular sport of the Mayan era and in every city there are, at least, a field devoted to this game. But, unlike what happens today, this ball game had ritual connotations and was a game where the participants faced each other, but the one who lost suffered a tragic end. The losers were sacrificed and died for Divine Design.

Who lost the ball and made it touch the ground, was sacrificed, since these games participants performed a struggle between the forces of the Underworld and the Sun, which was represented by the ball. The players had to keep the ball moving, avoiding it to fall to the ground. If it fell, it could never again rise in the morning and that would represent the eternal darkness.

The Chichén Itzá ball game is the largest in Mesoamerica.

The ball game was called Pok-ta-pok, given the noise that made the ball hitting the walls. In Chichén Itzá there are thirteen ball game courts, although one of them is the largest which is known in Riviera Maya and America. It has a length of 186 meters and a width of 70 meters.

It is located on the West of the great Northern Square. It consists of four buildings, which give shape to the field with the traditional way of double T that forms tracks on the the ball game courts. In the inside of the largest constructions are found the bleachers where the public sit when attending the show and enjoy this ceremonial sport.

In the bleachers, attendees made their bets and it is believed that there were strong bets such as slaves, fabrics and jewels, which changed hands again and again. It is in those walls where you can also see the two hoops where players had to sneak through the ball during the game. They are located at 7.5 meters high and are not too big.

The skill of the players was great, since this game was about to pass the ball through those hoops, avoiding to touch the ground and tapping it with the hip and forearms only.

In the southern part of the field, you can see a building that was supposed to be a temple and that also served to protect the senior aides from the weather. It is not in a very good condition and it is only left a small part of it.The northern part is something smaller and does not have the grandeur of the other. On the walls you can see is engraved in stone of animal and vegetal motifs.

The memory of a time is where the importance of rites was great and those who could not successfully run them paid for it, presumably, with life.