The Ball

The Ball



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Ball History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of England produced the name of Ball. It was given to a person who was bald deriving its origin from the Old English word Bealla, which meant bald. The surname may also refer to someone who had a rotund or stocky stature. [1]

While many researchers share this same "nickname" origin of the name, Henry Brougham Guppy in 1890, wrote "The idea that these names originated from bald - headed ancestors is, I think, absurd. Camden, in his remarks on surnames, written some 300 years ago, informs us that Baul and Bald were then nicknames or nursenames for Baldwin, and it was evidently from this source that Mr. Lower borrowed the suggestion that Ball was a nickname of Baldwin." [2]

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Early Origins of the Ball family

The surname Ball was first found in the "west side of England, being at present most numerous in Lancashire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, and Gloucestershire. This surname must be distinguished in its distribution from Balls, which is restricted to the opposite or east side of England, in the counties of Norfolk, Suffolk, and Essex. It is remarkable that after the lapse of six centuries Balls remains doggedly in the same part of England, whilst Ball and Baldwin seem to have extended their areas westward. In Norfolk three centuries ago Balls was sometimes spelt Balles or Ballis. " [2]

The earliest record of the family was found in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 which reflected the scattered occurrences of the family and early spellings recorded: Custance Balde, Cambridgeshire Richard Bald, Oxfordshire John Balle, Norfolk and Albred Balle, Huntingdonshire. [1]

Kirby's Quest had several entries: John Balde, Somerset, 1 Edward III (recorded during the first year's reign of Edward III.) John atte Balle, Somerset, 1 Edward III and Henry atte Balle, Somerset, 1 Edward III. [3]

John Ball (d. 1381), was an early English priest, who provoked the insurrection of Wat Tyler. As a result of his actions, he was "brought before the king at St. Albans, where he was sentenced to be hanged, drawn, and quartered as a traitor. The sentence seems to have been promptly carried out, and the king himself witnessed its execution at St. Albans on 15 July. " [4]

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Early History of the Ball family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Ball research. Another 161 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1381, 1887, 1585, 1640, 1585, 1590, 1659, 1631, 1690, 1623, 1681, 1665, 1745, 1680, 1626, 1640, 1675, 1664, 1637, 1530, 1553, 1992 and are included under the topic Early Ball History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Ball Spelling Variations

One relatively recent invention that did much to standardize English spelling was the printing press. However, before its invention even the most literate people recorded their names according to sound rather than spelling. The spelling variations under which the name Ball has appeared include Ball, Balle, Balls, Balders and others.

Early Notables of the Ball family (pre 1700)

Notables of the family at this time include John Ball (1585-1640), English Puritan divine, born at Cassington, Oxfordshire, in October 1585. Thomas Ball (1590-1659), was an English divine, born at Aberbury in Shropshire. "His parents were of 'good and honest repute,' having neither 'superfluity nor want.' " [4] William Ball or Balle (c. 1631-1690), was an early an English astronomer, one of the founding Fellows of the Royal Society. He was the eldest of seventeen children born to Sir Peter Ball, knight, recorder of Exeter and attorney-general to the queen in the reigns of Charles.
Another 93 words (7 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Ball Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Ball family to Ireland

Some of the Ball family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 181 words (13 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ball migration +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Ball Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • James Ball, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1622 [5]
  • Mrs. Robert Ball, who arrived in Virginia in 1622 [5]
  • Goodwife Ball, who settled in Virginia in 1623
  • Mrs. Ball, who landed in Virginia in 1623 [5]
  • Richard Ball, who settled in Virginia in 1624
  • . (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Ball Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Eliz Ball, who landed in Virginia in 1705 [5]
  • Samuel Ball, who arrived in Virginia in 1705 [5]
  • Will Ball, who landed in Virginia in 1705 [5]
  • Catharina Ball, who landed in New York in 1709 [5]
  • Richard Ball, who landed in Virginia in 1714 [5]
  • . (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Ball Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Matthew Ball, who landed in Maryland in 1803 [5]
  • Prudence Ball, aged 30, who arrived in Baltimore, Maryland in 1804 [5]
  • James Ball, who arrived in Charleston, South Carolina in 1807 [5]
  • Luke Ball, who arrived in America in 1810 [5]
  • Abraham Ball, aged 45, who arrived in New York in 1812 [5]
  • . (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Ball migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Ball Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • William Ball, a fisherman of St. John's or Petty Harbour, Newfoundland in 1740 [6]
  • Richard Ball, a J.P. of the Ferryland District, Newfoundland in 1750 [6]
  • Mary Ball, who landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1778
  • Private Jacob Ball U.E. (b. 1764) born in New Fane, Vermont, USA from Vermont, USA who settled in Sutton, Brome-Missisquoi Regional County, Quebec c. 1783 part of the Queen's Loyal Rangers, 4th Company with Captain Justus Sherwood's Company, he married Elizabeth H. Stone in 1785 the had 5 children, he died in 1831 in Knowlton, Quebec [7]
  • Mrs. Elizabeth Ball U.E., (née Stone) (b. 1771) who settled in Sutton, Brome-Missisquoi Regional County, Quebec c. 1783 she married Private Jacob Ball in 1785, died in 1865 [7]
  • . (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Ball Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • George Ball, a planter of Cuckold's Cove, Newfoundland in 1824 [6]
  • Edward Ball, aged 30, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the ship "Edwin" from Dublin, Ireland
  • Henry Ball from County Waterford, Ireland, was married in St. John's, Newfoundland in 1838 [6]
  • Stephen H Ball, who arrived in Canada in 1841
  • Abraham Ball, a fisherman of Reccontre in 1850 there is a Ball Island and Captain Ball Rock in Newfoundland [6]
Ball Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century
  • Mr. James Ball, (b. 1872), aged 31, Cornish stationer, from St Austell, Cornwall travelling aboard the ship "Cedric" arriving at Ellis Island, New York on 20th February 1903 en route to Toronto, Canada [8]
  • Mrs. Lillie Ball, (b. 1873), aged 30, Cornish housewife, from St Austell, Cornwall travelling aboard the ship "Cedric" arriving at Ellis Island, New York on 20th February 1903 en route to Toronto, Canada [8]

Ball migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Ball Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • George Jennings Ball, English convict from Southampton, who was transported aboard the "Albion" on September 21, 1826, settling in New South Wales, Australia[9]
  • Miss Jane Ball who was convicted in Middlesex, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Burrell" on 31st December 1831, arriving in New South Wales[10]
  • James Ball, English convict from Northampton, who was transported aboard the "Andromeda" on November 13, 1832, settling in New South Wales, Australia[11]
  • Mr. Joseph Ball, English convict who was convicted in Chester, Cheshire, England for 14 years, transported aboard the "Aurora" on 18th June 1835, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [12]
  • Mr. George Ball, British Convict who was convicted in London, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Asia" on 20th July 1837, arriving in New South Wales, Australia[13]
  • . (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Ball migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Ball Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Thomas Ball, Australian settler travelling from Port of Hobart, Tasmania, Australia on board the ship "David Owen" arriving in New Zealand in 1832 [14]
  • Alfred Ball, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • Richard Ball, who landed in Wellington & Wanganui, New Zealand in 1841
  • Thomas T Ball, who landed in Wanganui, New Zealand in 1843
  • Phillip Ball, aged 40, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Seringapatam" in 1856
  • . (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Ball (post 1700) +

  • Lucille Désirée Ball (1911-1989), American actress, comedienne, television star and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • Bobby Ball (1944-2020), stage name of Robert Harper, an English comedian, actor and singer, best known as one half of the double act Cannon and Ball
  • Kenneth Daniel "Kenny" Ball (1930-2013), English jazz musician, lead trumpet player and founder of Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen
  • Captain Albert Ball VC, DSO & Two Bars, MC (1896-1917), English First World War fighter pilot awarded the Victoria Cross
  • Air Marshal Sir Alfred Henry Wynne Ball KCB, DSO, DFC (b. 1921), English former Deputy Commander of RAF Strike Command
  • Air Vice Marshal Sir Benjamin Ball (1912-1977), English RAF Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief at Signals Command
  • Sir John M. Ball FRSE, FRS (b. 1948), English mathematician
  • Mr. William Ball, British sheriff, held the joint position of Sheriff of Nottingham, England from 1562 to 1563
  • Mr. Thomas Ball, British sheriff, held the joint position of Sheriff of Nottingham, England from 1484 to 1485
  • Neiron Ball (1992-2019), American NFL outside linebacker football player who played for the Oakland Raiders (2015�)
  • . (Another 131 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Historic Events for the Ball family +

Hillsborough disaster
  • Kester Roger Marcus Ball (1972-1989), English schoolboy who was attending the FA Cup semi-final at Hillsborough Stadium, in Sheffield, Yorkshire when the stand allocated area became overcrowded and 96 people were crushed in what became known as the Hillsborough disaster and he died from his injuries, his school named his sixth form block "Kester Ball House" in his memory [15]
HMS Hood
  • Mr. William Ball (b. 1923), English Leading Stoker serving for the Royal Navy from Liverpool, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [16]
  • Mr. Philip A Ball (b. 1922), English Stoker 1st Class serving for the Royal Navy from Salisbury, Wiltshire, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [16]
  • Mr. Charles F D Ball (b. 1920), English Able Seaman serving for the Royal Navy from Kemp Town, Brighton, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [16]
HMS Prince of Wales
HMS Royal Oak
  • Raymond John Newall Ball (1920-1939), born in Portsmouth, Hampshire, England, British Engine Room Artificer 5th Class with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk he died in the sinking [18]
  • C.W. Ball, British Petty Officer with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk he survived the sinking [18]
RMS Titanic
  • Mr. Percy Ball, aged 19, English First Class Plate Steward from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and survived the sinking by escaping in life boat 13 [19]
  • Mrs. Ada E. Ball, (née Hall), aged 36, English Second Class passenger from Bristol, Avon who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and survived the sinking escaping on life boat 10 [19]
USS Arizona
  • Mr. Masten A. Ball, American Fireman First Class working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he survived the sinking [20]
  • Mr. William V. Ball, American Seaman First Class from Iowa, USA working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he died in the sinking [20]

Related Stories +

The Ball Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Fulcrum dignitatis virtus
Motto Translation: Virtue is the support of dignity


Gazing balls have had many names through the centuries: spirit balls, witch balls, friendship balls, butler balls and spirit catchers. People thought gazing balls brought good luck and prosperity to a home and abundant growth to plants and flowers. Homeowners put them near the front door of the house to keep evil spirits and witches away. Victorians gave them to each other as gifts of true friendship, thus the name friendship ball.

  • Gazing balls are typically made of hand-blown glass.
  • Homeowners put them near the front door of the house to keep evil spirits and witches away.

How to Date Old Ball Mason Jars

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Ball mason jars are a type of home canning jar made by the Ball Corporation. The company started making mason jars back in 1880, and many people today still use these for canning, or collect the jars as a hobby. There are many ways to date old Ball mason jars, and one of the easiest is to look at the logo. Along with the logo, you can sometimes use the color, size, and other distinguishing marks to help date a mason jar.


Time ball

A time ball or timeball is an obsolete time-signalling device. It consists of a large, painted wooden or metal ball that is dropped at a predetermined time, principally to enable navigators aboard ships offshore to verify the setting of their marine chronometers. Accurate timekeeping is essential to the determination of longitude at sea.

Although the use of time balls has been replaced by electronic time signals, some time balls have remained operational as historical tourist attractions.


The Ball - HISTORY

Every now again, it’s nice to swap the sweatpants and boxed wine for a bit of decadence and luxury. A quick–but not always economical–fix? Throwing a majestic and mysterious Masquerade Ball.

Dating back to the 14th and 15th centuries, the Masquerade Ball began as part of Europe’s carnival season. Less high society and more cirque du célébration, villagers would gather in masks and costumes to take part in elaborate pageants and glamorous processions.

Quickly spreading across France like wildfire, some of the most notorious balls of the day would be held to celebrate Royal Entries: the grand occasion of welcoming kings and queens into their cities.

In fact, so audacious were the masked balls that in 1393, Charles VI of France held the first ever “Bal des Ardents”. Translated as “Burning Men’s Ball”, the event transformed the more orthodoxly decadent costume ball into a night of intrigue and risk.

In celebration of the marriage of the queen’s lady in waiting, King Charles and five of his bravest courtiers dressed in masks and flax costumes and danced the night away as wildsmen of the woods.

The only catch was that if your sashaying edged you too close to one of the many flaming torches that lined the dance floor, your look would be smoking–and not for the right reasons.


‘KKK beauty queen’: Twitter unearths Ellie Kemper’s history at controversial St. Louis debutante ball

Ellie Kemper is known for her roles in Netflix’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and The Office, but she’s not the kind of celebrity we associate with shocking gossip. That changed on Sunday night after a little-known detail from her college years began to trend on Twitter. According to one very inflammatory tweet, she was “crowned KKK queen” at a beauty pageant in 1999.

The tweet shows a teen Kemper at the Veiled Prophet Ball, an exclusive St. Louis event that’s been running since 1878. It’s not literally the Ku Klux Klan, but the ball’s origins could be described as Klan-adjacent. As recently as 2015, this organization was targeted by Black Lives Matter protesters as a symbol of racist power structures in St. Louis society.

So was no one gonna tell me Ellie kemper aka kimmy Schmidt was crowned KKK queen in 1999 pic.twitter.com/QdHJ6wGZGv

&mdash charlie (@dianahungerr) May 31, 2021

This part of Kemper’s backstory wasn’t a secret, it was already on her Wikipedia page, but outsiders might not be aware of the Veiled Prophet Ball’s dark history. The organization was created by a Confederate veteran, during a period when mystical secret societies were very much in vogue. And the original 1878 “veiled prophet” was an armed man wearing a white robe and hood. A similar outfit to the one the Klan adopted from the anti-Black propaganda movie Birth of a Nation in 1915.

According to a 2014 article in the Atlantic, the original Veiled Prophet Ball was a ritualized private event later nicknamed the VP Ball, attached to the city’s Mardi Gras-style VP Parade on the Fourth of July. The ball involves a Veiled Prophet being chosen by “a secret board of local elites,” and in turn, this prophet would choose a Queen of Love and Beauty from among the female attendees. In 1999 that was Ellie Kemper, whose father was the CEO of a bank holding company, and whose great-great-grandfather was a railroad magnate.

The first VP Balls had an overt political agenda. Coordinated by St. Louis’ upper classes, the VP organization was responding to a growing labor movement in the city. Black and white workers had recently joined forces during the 1877 railroad strike, which was violently quelled by federal troops. So while workers campaigned for fair pay and better working conditions, St. Louis businessmen were trying to consolidate their power with this luxurious, ritualized networking event. It emphasized the mystical power of the city’s white leaders, whose descendants would continue to control similar businesses for decades to come. The VP organization only welcomed its first Black members in 1979, seven years after civil rights protesters dramatically hijacked the ball and unmasked the latest prophet, a local Monsanto executive.

The situation with Ellie Kemper is more complicated than her being some kind of secret KKK beauty queen. These days, many locals don’t know the origins and political connotations of the VP Ball and parade. But that’s kind of the point.

The VP Ball represents the glossy public facade of a long-established exclusionary power structure. So for once, some viral celebrity gossip is inspiring insightful discussion on Twitter, focusing on the interconnected nature of wealth, racism, and political power in America.

I am so sorry. I misspoke, the organization kemper was crowned by was a completely different racist, segregationist group than the klan. People from St Louis wanted me to tell y’all that. https://t.co/M7DSKDQjiN

&mdash Imani Barbarin, MAGC | Crutches&Spice ♿️ (@Imani_Barbarin) May 31, 2021

it really is something that Ellie Kemper was the star of a tv show about a woman who leaves a racist cult and tries to rebrand herself while pretending it never happened. no reason why I'm bringing this up of course.

&mdash Jon Negroni (@JonNegroni) May 31, 2021

It’s fascinating that people are focused on whether Ellie Kemper was deb in a racist group at 19, & not whether her father & uncle, both major bank CEOs, belonged to that organization

&mdash Ms. Rosenberg (@Miz_Rosenberg) June 1, 2021

During the Ferguson protests in 2014 and 2015, the VP organization was targeted by Black Lives Matter activists under the #UnveilTheProfit hashtag. The campaign accused St. Louis elites of being complicit in racist police violence, encouraging people to think critically about the corporate power behind the police. So while the ball’s public image has certainly evolved in recent years, it’s not viewed as a politically neutral event.

Ellie Kemper hasn’t publicly responded to the controversy, but we’ve reached out to her representatives for a comment.


In 2001, 69-year-old Lucille DeBellis went to a taping of The Rosie O’Donnell Show. She was sitting in the studio audience when, according to the details of her lawsuit (as reported in the The New York Post), she was “suddenly and without warning struck in the face with a hard object”—a Koosh ball, which O’Donnell and her staff often shot out in the audience with the help of a Koosh-throwing device known as the Fling Shot.

Two years later, DeBellis filed a $3 million lawsuit against the producers of the show, claiming that “The Cuzball [sic] struck plaintiff squarely in the mouth, causing her to suffer pain and swelling, as well as bleeding in her gums.” The effects of the hit were long lasting, according to the lawsuit:

“[B]ecause of her physical discomfort and embarrassment with regard to her appearance, [DeBellis] was forced to spend the duration of the 2001 Christmas season in her home and turned down many opportunities to attend holiday parties and various social events … [It] adversely affected [her] relationship with her boyfriend.”


Softball

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Softball, a variant of baseball and a popular participant sport, particularly in the United States. It is generally agreed that softball developed from a game called indoor baseball, first played in Chicago in 1887. It became known in the United States by various names, such as kitten ball, mush ball, diamond ball, indoor–outdoor, and playground ball. There were wide variances in playing rules, size and type of playing equipment, and dimensions of the playing field.

In 1923 a rules committee was appointed to publish and circulate a standard set of rules. The committee was later enlarged to form the International Joint Rules Committee on Softball, which came to include representatives of a number of organizations that promote and sponsor softball. The Amateur Softball Association of America, organized in 1933, came to be the recognized governing agency for promotion and control of organized national competition.

The Fédération Internationale de Softball ( International Softball Federation), which was formed in 1952, acts as liaison between more than 40 softball organizations of several countries. Headquarters are in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The federation coordinates international competition and regular regional and world championship tournaments for men and women. In 1996 a women’s softball competition was added to the Olympic Games. It was removed from the Games following the 2008 Summer Olympics but was added back to the program of the 2020 Summer Olympics, which were postponed until 2021, owing to a worldwide coronavirus pandemic.

The fundamentals of softball are the same as those of baseball. Batting and fielding strategy are similar, but softball is played on a much smaller area, and a game is only seven innings long.

The regulation playing field for softball includes a diamond-shaped area with 60-foot (18.3-metre) baselines. The pitching distance for men is 46 feet (14 metres) and for women 43 feet (13.11 metres). Bats must be round, not more than 34 inches (86.4 cm) long, and not more than 2.25 inches (5.7 cm) in diameter at the largest part. The official softball is a smooth-seam ball 12 inches (30.5 cm) in circumference, weighing between 6.25 and 7 ounces (177 and 198 grams).

In softball the ball is delivered by an underhand motion, whereas in baseball the pitch is overhand or sidearm. Base stealing is permitted in both games, but in softball the runner must keep contact with the base until the pitcher releases the ball on delivery to the batter.

A popular variation of softball called slow-pitch may be played with regulation equipment. The major differences from softball (fast-pitch) are that there are 10 members on a team, the pitching distance for men and for women is 46 feet, and a pitched ball must be delivered at moderate speed with an arc of at least 3 feet in its flight toward the batter. Speed and height of the pitch are left to the judgment of an umpire, who may eject a pitcher for repeatedly throwing the ball too fast. Base stealing is not allowed in slow-pitch.

Another variation, popular especially in Chicago and other midwestern American cities, is played with a ball that is 16 inches (40.64 cm) in circumference on a diamond whose base paths are 55 feet (16.8 metres) for men and 50 feet long (15.25 metres) for women. The ball is delivered as in slow-pitch, and fielders typically play without gloves.

The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica This article was most recently revised and updated by Adam Augustyn, Managing Editor, Reference Content.


The Mayan Ball Game

The Mesoamerican ball game was played, experts think, by all the cultures in the region, beginning with the Olmecs who may have invented it. The ball game goes back 3,500 years, making it the first organized game in the history of sports. Mayans loved the game and everyone played at various times, but it also held deep religious, ritual meaning as well. For that reason, it was sometimes played just as a game, with lots of gambling on the teams. At other times, the game became spectacle and ritual, with the city rulers playing captive warriors in rigged, ritual games. The captives would lose the game and then be sacrificed.

Most, but not all, Mayan cities had ball courts, many more than one. Thirteen hundred ball courts are scattered throughout Mesoamerica and all of them have the same I shape, that is, two sloping walls for the ball to bounce on, a long narrow playing field and two end zones. Guatemala, home of the earliest Mayan cities, holds over 500 ball courts alone.

While no one knows the exact rules of the ball game, Spaniards who saw the Aztec games in the 1500s reported that two teams of two to five players had to keep the ball in the air without using their hands or feet. They hit the ball with their upper arms, thighs or hips. The rubber balls they used were of varying weight and size, from the size of a softball to a soccer ball. Solid rubber balls were heavy—up to eight or nine pounds—and could cause serious injury or even death. Games were won mostly by points. Around A.D. 1200, stone circles with a hole in the middle were attached high up on the walls of the ball court, up to six meters high. While getting a ball through the hole was rare, if a player got the ball through the hole, it was an instant win.

Besides games just for fun and athletics, ceremonial games carried a great deal of religious significance, acting out the creation myth, or keeping the sun and moon in their accustomed orbits. While modern readers may put much weight on at such a reason, to the Maya it was a matter of life and death and one of the reasons for human sacrifice. The gods needed human blood and hearts to keep the sun and moon in orbit. Some ball games were played to resolve bitter disputes between rival cities or as a proxy for war. The Maya also saw the game as a battle between the gods of death and the gods of life or between good and evil. They also saw it as a reminder of the Hero Twins, who overcame death and became demi-gods themselves. Thus, the game symbolizes regeneration and life.

This article is part of our larger resource on the Mayans culture, society, economics, and warfare. Click here for our comprehensive article on the Mayans.


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