In the Mayan game of pitz, the first team sport in human history, two sets of players squared off in a ball court that could stretch as long as a football field. The object of the game was to use hips and elbows to keep the ball in the air and, if possible, get it through a hoop set high on a stone wall. The ball was roughly the size and heft of a human head. Indeed, given the sheer number of decapitations in the Popol Vuh, the sacred Mayan text that prominently features the game, scholars have not ruled out the possibility that the teams sometimes played with the heads of sacrificial victims. It’s also probable that, at the conclusion of the game, one team or the other fell en masse beneath the priests’ daggers.
Lately, the news from Mexico has not been particularly positive. Every day the number of victims of the ongoing turf wars in the northern border area of the country grows. In 2009, Mexico reported 7,724 drug war-related deaths,1 while in January of this year alone, the number of people killed in Ciudad Juárez reached a stunning 227. Recently, over the weekend of March 13, 2010, nearly 50 people were killed in that bloody city, including employees and family members of the U.S. Consulate. Most scholars and politicians believe that these deaths are all related to drug gang activity, implying that they are the result of in-gang struggles for control of businesses and territory; fights amongst gangs for routes, and because of clashes with the military.
While Canada opens its doors to Olympians and the world, its own opposition parties are locked out of Parliament.