User menu
Main menu

Ancient Maya Sport - the ball court

60 second histories
Live experience

This video covers:  A description of ulama, the Ancient Maya sport played in a ball court.

Free to view
To us the Maya people, the game of ulama is more than just a sport, it has a religious meaning. The game is played on a ball court. The court is built of stone in the shape of a capital I and has walls that slope inwards. The game is played with two teams and the aim is to hit a hard rubber ball through a stone hoop, which is set high up in the stone wall. This is really difficult because the rings are set eight meters high and the players are not allowed to use their hands, only their elbows, knees, hips and head can be used. Because the ball is so hard, players wear a thick leather belt with padding on their hips and a helmet to protect their head as well as knee protectors so they can bounce the ball off their bodies. The losing team is sometimes sacrificed to the gods but the captain of the winning side might also be sacrificed to give the gods a fit, strong heart to nourish them. Either way, I never play, it’s far too dangerous.
Eras: 
Ancient Maya
Topics: 
Civilizations
Buildings & Structures
Leisure & sport
Character: 
Maya warrior
Key words: 
Maya, Ancient Maya, ulama, sport, religious, stone, court, walls, team, rubber ball, ball, stone hoop, hoop, stone wall, protection, dangerous, sacrificed, sacrifice,