The Maya loved ball games. Ball courts were usually
placed at the base of a temple, because all games were held to honor the
many Maya gods. Festivals were held every 20 days. Every festival had a
ball game scheduled. Everybody who possibly could came to the ball
The courts had a hoop at one end. The game
played was very rough. It was a mix of modern soccer, basketball, and
kick ball. Players could not touch the ball. They had to use their hips
and feet and arms. They did wear protective clothing. The object of the
game was to put a rubber ball through the hoop.
teams from various Maya cities, or various parts of the same city, were
playing each other, the winning team got to keep the jewelry of the
Some games were played with captives.
One team was composed of Maya players. The other team was composed of
captives. If the captives, they were allowed to go free. But they never
won. Prior to the game, the captives were beaten, poorly fed, and poorly
clothed. After the captive team lost, they were sacrificed.