Mayan ball game. Source: Sputnik / CC by SA 2.5

Juego de Pelota: Ancient Mayan Sporting Tradition Resurrected (Video)


In Mexico, a dedicated group of athletes is embarking on a remarkable mission: to revive an ancient sporting tradition that pays tribute to the game once cherished by their ancestors. The Mesoamerican ballgame, known as 'Juego de Pelota, ' is believed to be around 3,000 years old, making it potentially one of the oldest team sports in existence. This fascinating game was once played by renowned civilizations such as the Aztecs, Maya, and Incas and held deep cultural and religious significance. Sadly, the game's vibrant legacy was abruptly disrupted when Spanish conquistadors arrived and banned its practice in the 16th century AD. As a result, the ballgame slowly faded into legend, with its rules and rituals lost to time.

However, a passionate group of modern-day athletes is determined to resurrect this ancient tradition, breathing life back into the sacred courts where their ancestors once competed. By studying historical records, archaeology, and collaborating with indigenous communities, these athletes are piecing together the fragments of knowledge surrounding the game. Through rigorous training and intense dedication, they are honing their skills to recreate the fluid movements and strategies that once defined the Mesoamerican ballgame.

Top image: Mayan ball game. Source: Sputnik / CC by SA 2.5

By Robbie Mitchell

Robbie Mitchell's picture


I’m a graduate of History and Literature from The University of Manchester in England and a total history geek. Since a young age, I’ve been obsessed with history. The weirder the better. I spend my days working as a freelance... Read More

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