The Mayans are one of the first peoples to develop and play professional sports. One of the most important sports played by the Mayans was called Pok-a-tok.
Using a solid rubber ball, which was about the size of a basketball, teams battled one another in a way that reminded the people of ancient Mayan battles and legends. To protect themselves from injury, these players wore protective padding.
The goal of this game was to hit the ball into a stone hoop. The ball could not be picked up, however. It had to be bounced off of leather shields that were attached to the players’ arms, legs and chest.