This week Year 5 combined their History lesson with some sport to find out more about the Ancient Maya. We found out that the Maya played the earliest team sport in the world, a ball game called Pok-ta-tok. More than 1,500 ball courts have been found throughout Mesoamerica and these were often located within important ceremonial sites.
First, we found out how to set up our own ballcourt and the rules of the game. Each court is divided into two halves and the opposing teams faced each other across the dividing line. To score, players needed to get the ball into the opposing teams end zone (we felt it was a little bit like volleyball).
The hardest part of this game is that the ball can be hit with the elbow’s, hips and knees but never the head, hands or feet. This was much more difficult than we thought it would be!
We found out that the Maya played Pok-ta-tok for fun, on special occasions and sometimes to replace war or settle a dispute between two cities. Everyone played enthusiastically and some of the children thought that this would be a much more enjoyable way of solving arguments today - until they found out that sometimes the leader of the losing team might be sacrificed!