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Chichen Itza, one of the largest sites near Cancun, Mexico, has a ball game court. It is larger than a football field --at about 150 by 40 feet -- it is the largest in the Mundo Maya. The ball game, which was a common activity of all Mesoamerican peoples and originated about 3,000 B.C., had a ritualistic fun

nction for the ancient Maya.

There were two teams -- the number of players depended on the region where the game was played.  Most ball courts had two sloping parallel walls inset with three round disks called markers or a single stone ring, at right angles to the ground.

The game appears in various myths, sometimes as a struggle between day and night deities, or the battles between the gods in the sky and the lords of the underworld. The ball symbolized the sun, moon, or stars, and the rings stood for sunrise and sunset, or equinoxes.

The players scored by touching the markers or passing the ball—which was 50 centimeters in diameter and weighed more than a two pounds—through the rings. The markers or rings were several yards above the ground, and the players could only touch the ball with their elbows, knees or hips. Scoring was considered such a feat that it usually ended the game.

Ball games would go on for days (the word lamik being the name of one of the days).  The Maya ball game was called Pok-A-Tok.  

These games could go on for days.   It was played on an odd shaped field.  The object of the game was to move a hard rubber ball without the use of hands or feet.  It wasn't real hard to keep score, since it took so long to get the ball through the stone hoop.

The losing team was usually sacrificed.  
At page top: hoop in ball court at Chichen Itza. Shown at right, stone carving of a ball player.