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Ball game

The ancient game of lachi or juego de pelota of Monte Albán has been the subject of much debate.


Constructed during the Classic period of the development of the site this rectangular area is seen pictured:

Despite appearance the two sloping areas to the sides are not spectator stands, but are part of the court itself.  During the times when games were played here they would have been smooth slopes, and been a challenging surface on which to play and control the native rubber ball.

At the end zones hoops as goals would have been placed, though at this time such baskets were very small and it is easy to imagine that games may have gone on very long with no "score".  Some suggest that simply getting a ball into the end zone must have counted, but like all things this is guesswork.

Little is known about how these games were played, only clues from sculptures and oral traditions captured by early European explorers give some clues. Kneepads and helmets are seen in depictions of the players implying that it was a rough and active game.

Imagine lacross, squash and football combined - played on a court with sloping surfaces.  It was probably more X-Games than lawn tennis!

As with much of life at the time the religious and the secular combined and players were seen also as worshipers, and prayed to their gods for success on the courts!