Category Archives: Sports

Let’s Play Ball – Mayan Style

Having a husband and two sons who are baseball and basketball players means I’ve watched a whole lot of ball games in my life, but I’ve never seen a game like Pok Ta Pok. We watched a match one evening in front of the major cathedral in Merida.  The name comes from the sound the 4 kilogram game ball makes as it is passed from player to player. See the round hoop on the right hand side?  The ball needs to pass through it to score. We had a wonderful pre-game event – a pasta and pork tenderloin supper courtesy of my sister Kaaren and her husband Ken on the lovely outdoor patio of the home they are renting in Merida.  We were joined by our friend Rudy, and Kaaren and Ken’s friends from Winnipeg who are here to spend a week with them.  After the meal we headed down to watch the game from bleachers that had been set up alongside the Pok Ta Pok court. The guys were discussing the Jets game happening in Winnipeg before the Pok Ta Pok game began.  Dave was following on his phone as the Jets beat Anaheim 9-3. 

Dave at the ball court at Chichen Itza.The ring Dave is pretending to  shoot at is exactly like the one that was in the centre of playing court in Merida. 

I had seen a Pok Ta Pok court  when we visited the ancient Mayan community of Chichen Itza in 2007.  The court in Merida was open and did not have high walls like the one in Chichen Itza and the ring the ball would be shot into was in the center of the court in Merida and in Chichen Itza it was on the wall. 

Before a Pok To Tok game can begin there are lots of cermonial rituals that are carried out. Note the players have painted their bodies and are wearing traditional Mayan attire. See the ring the ball will go through? 

The game was fast paced and each team had four male players.  I wondered if women every play the sport.  The men hit the ball back and forth to each other but could only use their hips or thighs for doing so.  I thought their hips and thighs must be pretty bruised by the time a game was over.  

See the fire ball above the one player’s head?

After the Pok Ta Pok game we were treated to a demonstration of another version of the game where the ball is set on fire and the players use their hands to pass it to each other and then try to put it through the hoop.  I figured they must have had some kind of powder or cream on their hands to prevent them from getting burned. 

aztec ullamaliztli players Aztec ullamaliztli players performing for Charles V in Spain, drawn by Christoph Weiditz in 1528.

Pok ta Pok as depicted by Christoph Weiditz in a 1528 Spanish manuscript

It was an interesting evening seeing a sport invented some 3000 years ago still being played today. 

Other posts………

Take Me Out to the Ball Game- Osaka Style

Maybe an Iguana Ate My Golf Ball

Tigers Baseball


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Filed under Mexico, Sports

Let’s Play Ball

We were in St. George Utah last week because…….my husband Dave was playing ball in the Huntsman World Senior Games an international sporting competition for people over the age of 50.   Some of my blog readers have been anxiously waiting to hear news about the Manitoba team Dave competed with in the games. Although my varied blog posts from Utah so far might give you the idea I wasn’t taking my husband’s athletic endeavors seriously nothing could be further from the truth.  I was at every single game cheering him on. I took lots of photos. The team competed at three different softball complexes each with multiple diamonds and great views of the stunning Utah scenery.  

Dave receiving his silver medal

They played eight games and ended up the silver medalists in their division which was for players 65 years and older.

Silver medal champions

 It was interesting that many of the teams in their division were from Canada.  They played against squads from Ontario, Alberta and Newfoundland as well as teams from Washington, California and Utah. The weather was certainly variable during the games.  Everything from blazing heat which had us fans scrambling to find shady trees to sit under to watch the action, to freezing cold days when we shivered in the stands despite wearing multiple layers of clothing.  One day it rained for more than an hour solid right before our game but cleared up just as we took to the field. Some of the games were very close and exciting and victories were determined only in the last inning.  I enjoyed watching the umpires in action.  Each had their own unique style and technique.  I also enjoyed visiting with fans and players from other teams. I bought cookies from a group of kids who told me the story of their cousin who has cancer.  They were raising money for his medical care with their bake sale.  I visited with a woman from Toronto who has been at the seniors games with her husband seventeen years in a row. I spent an hour-long rainstorm huddled under a canteen overhang with a ball player from Texas, who was a Vietnam vet and professional rodeo rider.  His life story was fascinating.  The ball games were also fascinating in their own way because all the players no matter their age were there to showcase their skills, challenge themselves physically, engage in healthy exercise, participate in some good competition and have fun. 

Other posts………

A Ball Player for Life

Baseball Legacy

Baseball Singalong


Filed under Sports, Utah

A Ball Player For Life

league champsMy husband Dave’s season of ball with the Manitoba Senior Slow Pitch Tournament League is over and his Eastman team has emerged champions.  Normally that would mean that Dave’s Monday and Wednesday mornings could now be devoted to pickle ball instead of soft ball but….. this year he is also playing in an international tournament in Utah in October so some of his pickle ball games will have to be prempted for practices to prepare for that big event.   Dave has been playing ball since he was about four years old and was part of the Sunday School league at his church in Leamington Ontario.   That’s about sixty years of the sport and if he keeps this up someday it might even be seventy!

Other posts…….

Together Again

Batter’s Up at Dawn

A New Sport for Dave

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Driedger Golf

This last weekend our sons took their Dad on a golf trip.  It was a gift he received from them last year for his 65th birthday. They visited three different courses in North Dakota known as The Triple Challenge.  

Our younger son drew this picture in elementary school for his Dad one Father’s Day.

Golf has always played a role in our family life.  When Dave and I got married he had summer employment at the John Blumberg Golf Course in Winnipeg and I bought him an old set of clubs at a garage sale so he could make use of the golf privileges that came as a perk with his job. When we moved to Steinbach a few years later Dave started golfing at the Fly In golf course there. He bought shares for himself and for each of our sons as soon as they were born. Dave participated in the mens’ league, golfed as often as he could, and served for a long time on the board of directors.  Our boys both had their first jobs at the golf course and worked there for many summers during their high school and university years. I started golfing in a ladies league in Steinbach and came to enjoy the game too. Since then Dave and I have golfed in many countries around the world, met interesting people and had good times with family and friends because of the game. 

Now that he is retired Dave golfs two or three times a week. Although neither of our sons has a great deal of time to play golf, busy as they are with their careers and families, they still enjoy the game, so it made for a perfect activity for the three Driedger males to do together.  

Golf is a sport that is definitely on the decline   but for our family it has been a good way to build relationships, get exercise and have fun together.

Other posts……….

I Golf For the Scenery

Golfers With an Artistic Side

I Did the Limbo on the Golf Course

Back on the Course Again

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Ultimate Spirit

ultimate championships

The last couple of days we have been enjoying watching our son play in the World Masters Ultimate Club Championships here in Winnipeg. joel masters worldsOur son’s Saskatchewan team won the Canadian Championships last year giving them a berth in this international event. korea vs. canadaSo far they have played four games against Columbia, Korea, India and the United States. They’ve won three of their four games. spirit circleOne of the things I think is really great about Ultimate is that after the game the members of both teams stand interspersed with their arms around each other and talk about the game.  They compliment each other on things each team did well and show their respect and affirmation for the skills players showed on the field. They might also talk about how teams could improve their spirit and attitude in future games. There are no referees in Ultimate so players make their own calls. This means honesty and fair play are even more important in the game.

joel ultimate mastersWe are looking forward to seeing more games the rest of the week. I remember the days of watching our son play basketball, hockey, volleyball and baseball competitively when he was still in school and my heart racing when the game was close.  I’m finding that excitement is still there a couple of decades later.

Other posts………. 

The Ultimate Experience

Watching the Prairie Regional Ultimate Tournament

A New Sport For Dave

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Back on the Course Again

golfing in leamington (1)Yesterday I golfed for the first time since I broke my wrist.  I was a little nervous about it wondering if I would feel any pain or if the break would have impacted my golf swing at all.  We were golfing in Leamington, Ontario with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law so I had to use rented clubs and it took a while to get used to them.  But by the end of the round I was hitting some decent drives and fairway shots, and my putting, if I do say so myself, was pretty darn good.  On at least five of the nine holes my playing partners were impressed with the long putts I sank. And by the end of the round my wrist didn’t even hurt.  me and paulWe celebrated my return to the game on the patio of the golf club with drinks.  It felt good to be back on the course again. 

beautiful Lake Erie

Beautiful view of Lake Erie from the golf club patio.

Other posts….

I Did the Limbo on the Golf Course

Inspiration on the Hecla Island Golf Course on the Last Days of August

Family Visit in Leamington, Ontario



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Make New Friends But Keep the Old

I went along with my husband Dave yesterday to watch him play in a ball tournament in Steinbach.  I hadn’t really planned to go but Dave said the team was having a meal after the tournament at one of the player’s homes and partners were invited.  He said he’d really like me to come.  So I changed my plans and went along.  I was so glad I did. 

My friend Marge came to the tournament to watch her husband play ball too.  Dave and I have been friends with Marge and her husband Fran since 1976 when we were their neighbours in Landmark for a year. Marge and I hadn’t seen each other since January.  We had been in Europe for two months and they had been on a trip to Europe as well and so the first order of business was to catch up on our travel experiences. Then we moved on to talk about our children and grandchildren and siblings and friends and hobbies and volunteer work and books and a little bit of politics and church and our childhoods and summer plans and………….. suffice it to say our husbands’ expertise on the ball diamond did not garner our full attention. 

I love making new friends but there is something lovely about spending time with old friends who already know all about you and your past, someone with whom you have so many shared experiences. No matter how long you have been apart you can just pick up talking with one another and feel like the last time you were together was the day before. 

I learned a round song when I was a child that went………… Make new friends but keep the old.  One is silver and the other gold. 

Other posts……….

Are Men and Women’s Friendships Different? 

My Mom’s Friends

A Reunion With Old Friends in Portugal

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Filed under People, Sports