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Ball Courts, Ball Games Illustration

Maya Empire for Kids
Ball Courts

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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 games.

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.

When 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 losing team.

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.

Mesoamerica Ball Game

Mayas for Kids