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©2022 Kapow Primary

www.kapowprimary.com

El juego de pelota

©2023 Kapow Primary

www.kapowprimary.com

©2022 Kapow Primary

www.kapowprimary.com

Contents

1

Picture clue

2-8

El juego de pelota

©2023 Kapow Primary

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In pairs look at this photo and discuss what and where this might be.

Picture clue

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1

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Reveal text

The Maya ball game is one of the oldest known team sports in history. It is known by a variety of names including:

  • Pitz or Ulama in the Mayan language.
  • El juego de pelota in Spanish.
  • Pok-a-tok, a modern day English name.

El juego de pelota

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2

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  • The game was invented over 3500 years ago in a place called ‘Mesoamerica.’
  • This area covers parts of modern day Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras and El Salvador.
  • The game was developed over time by the people who lived in this region.

Rainer Lesniewski / Alamy Stock Vector

El juego de pelota

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3

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  • The Maya civilisation lived in Mesoamerica from 2000 BC to the 16th century.
  • They were an advanced cultural group with a rich history and strong religious beliefs.
  • Many of their cities still remain, providing historians and archeologists with an important insight into this ancient culture.

Teotihuacan, Mexico

Palenque, Mexico

Tikal, Guatemala

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  • Most of these cities had at least one ball court where the game was played.
  • The pista - court, was usually shaped like a capital letter ‘I’ and had tall walls on either side.
  • Some courts, although not all, had stone hoops attached to each wall.

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  • Rules varied a lot across the region and over time.
  • The basic game involved two teams of players passing a rubber ball using mainly their caderas - hips and muslos - thighs.
  • Scoring often consisted of shooting the ball through one of the aros - hoops or getting the ball into the opponent's zona final - end zone.

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6

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The game wasn't just played for fun; it was also a special ceremony. The Maya people believed:

  • It had a deep meaning.
  • It could please their gods.
  • The result of the game could decide important things for the community.
  • It could be used to help settle conflicts.

Simon Hart / Alamy Stock Photo

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  • The Maya made the bouncy balls using sap from the rubber trees in the forests near their homes.
  • These balls could weigh as much as four kilograms.
  • The players wore thick padding around their hips to protect them from the heavy ball.

ADDICTIVE STOCK CREATIVES / Alamy Stock Photo

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  • When the Spanish arrived in Mesoamerica in the 16th century, they banned the game. This was because it was part of the Maya’s religious customs, which were different to the Christian beliefs of the Spanish.
  • In recent times, the game has been revived in some communities in Mexico and Central America.

ADDICTIVE STOCK CREATIVES / Alamy Stock Photo