- The Ball Court at Chichén-Itzá (from Splendours)
The same ritual ball game is found throughout the cultures of Mesoamerica.
It may have originated with the Olmec culture, or perhaps even earlier. Walls
surrounded the court and supported the spectator seating area on either side.
A ball court was always situated in a choice location in a city's center, as in
this image from Chichén-Itzá. Various stories and myths portrayed the game as
a conflict between the day and night deities. The ball was considered a representative
of the sun (or the moon, or other celestial bodies), while the scoring rings represented
thresholds: sunrise, sunset, and equinoxes. Sacrifice was sometimes associated
with the ball game.