• Thu, Dec 20 2012

Hot Stuff Guys Used To Do: Predict The Apocalypse And Play Deadly Soccer


So, tomorrow, I predict we will be reading a lot of articles about the world ending! See what I did there? I made a prediction! It’s going to be right! I am pretty sure that is the kind of proof of omniscience that is almost inevitable. But, for the record, the ancient Mayans didn’t say that the world was actually going to end on December 21, 2012. What they did say was that it was supposed to be a new beginning.

2012 movie

Roland Emmerich tells lies!

According to National Geographic:

“There’s only one [Mayan] monument that even has the 2012 date on it,” says Mayan scholar Ricardo Agurcia, adding that apocalypse anticipators are ignoring that according to the Maya, when one great cycle ends, another begins. “It’s about rebirth, not death.”

Indeed, the Maya predicted the world would most certainly not end in 2012. Earlier this year, archaeologist and National Geographic grantee William Saturno discovered a series of numbers painted on the walls at a Mayan complex in Guatemala. The calculations included dates that go far into the future. “The ancient Maya predicted the world would continue 7,000 years from now.”

I was extremely happy and relieved by this report until I realized that the “rebirth” probably refers to zombies.

I guess I still have to buy a submarine. (That’s how you evade an apocalypse. By living on a submarine. That’s just true. That’s a true thing).

So I found myself wondering – how trustworthy were the ancient Mayans throwing around these predictions about zombies? And by that I mean, did Mayan men do lots of hot stuff?.

Kind of. They were really into sports. If you are compulsive about “competitve exercise”, and you are also really into death – so if you are a Goth teenager who attends all the pep rallies – you would find this very hot.

The ancient Mayans participated in a form of sport very similar to soccer or possibly hockey. It’s a bit hard to tell, because the precise rules were never fully spelled out. No wonder; considering that it was played for over a millenium, you have to assume the rules changed somewhat. According to Echoes In Times:

Although the exact rules are shrouded in mystery, people played [the ball game] avidly in nearly every Central and Meso-American city for over 1500 years. The game appears to have been played with a hard rubber ball roughly the size of a grapefruit (~8″ in diameter). The object of the game was apparently to score points by getting the ball through a hole in a vertical stone disc…It is believed that the rules prohibited actually touching the ball with the hand or having the ball hit the ground. The buttocks, thighs and upper torso were used to control the ball. A thick heavy deflector called a ‘yoke’ was often worn around the waist of a player to help direct the ball.

While the importance and appeal of this game throughout all of Mexico and Central America (and perhaps beyond) is obvious, there appears to no uniform standards as to the layout (width, length, position of scoring hoops, walls, etc.) of the court itself. Imagine having fixed rules but a variable court!

Hah! Yes, but I cannot imagine that. It sounds like Calvinball (“the score is still Q to 12″). Except Calvinball did not end in death, because Bill Waterson was not quite that dark.

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  • MR

    Very interesting. Yeah, the Mayan ruins are something I’d like to see. The Guatemalan people are almost pure Native-american, like the Peruvians on the Altiplano. They also still speak their language.