06 April 2012

The ball court

When we think of playing ball on vacation thoughts turn to throwing around a football, playing a match of tennis, playing volleyball in the sand (badly), or perhaps even the bloody-nose inducing rope and ball combo known as tetherball. For the various forms of recreational ball, The Ball Court at Coronado Springs is set up for volleyball and pays tribute to one of the earliest forms of playing ball.
These ruins suggest the ancient sport known generally as the Mesoamerican ballgame was played in various forms in Aztec, Mayan and other Mesoamerican cultures. The narrow courts have been found from Arizona to Nicaragua with the games earliest origins dating back to around 1,400 B.C. Courts consisted of long lanes, approximately a 4-to-1 length-to-width ratio, with stone walls encompassing the court.

The rules for the Mesoamerican ballgame have, sadly, been lost over time, leaving conjectures to be drawn from artwork, including everything from paintings and reliefs to figurines and sculpture, and a modern interpretation of the game, ulama. The ball used for the game, often believed to have been moved about by bouncing off of the players’ hips, was made from natural rubber of indigenous plants and was approximately 10 to 20 inches in diameter. Different records showed different types of garments to be worn during the game, but players generally wore a loincloth and some sort of hip protectors.

The game is believed to have had a ritualistic element to it and could have been utilized as a way to settle disputes and avoid warfare amongst various groups of people. Whatever the true rules, wardrobe, and intent was for the Mesoamerican ballgame, it is nice to see it given its own corner of Coronado Springs. And remember, the court would be a great place for sibling rivalries to be worked out while on vacation!

1 comment:

Mini-V said...

So is this where creative guests make-up rules to play a 21st century game?