the study of the kicking components within sports

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Mayan Kicking, part 1

Although the sun and the moon are both round and both travel across the sky approximately once a day, the similarities appear to end there as they seem like two uniquely different orbs. It turns out however that they are more alike than they are different. In fact, they are twins. 

Why, you may ask, is this of any concern to kickologists? Because earlier in their careers, the sun and the moon were the two greatest kickers of all time.

The story of the twin kicking legends Hunahpú and Xbalanqué was long told, but only one written account survived. The Popol Vuh, a collection of sorts of Mayan mythology, includes their story along with the creation myth and subsequent genealogies. Following is a brief synopsis of Hunahpú and Xbalanqué's epic story.

The heroic twins' story begins a generation earlier with their father Hun and their uncle Vucub - who were also twins and who were pretty decent kickers in their own right. One day during a boisterous ball game, the youthful Hun and Vucub managed to disturb the lords of Xibalba, the Mayan underworld. The Xibalbans invited the two down for a "friendly" ball game, but things were not as they appeared. Upon arrival the pair greeted the underlords only to discover that they were actually carved wooden replicas. The real underlords were still in their locker room, snickering. Oops! Upon sitting down on the visitors bench the pair discovered it was actually a fully-heated baking stone. Ouch! Having failed those "tests", Hun and Vucub met their fatal demise in the game itself when they failed to detect that the diabolically clever Xiblabans had hidden blades in the traditional meso-american rubber ball. Double ouch! The underlords buried both bodies under the ballcourt and placed Hun's severed head in a tree.

The gruesome conclusion was not however the end of the story. One day while the daughter of one of the underlords was walking passed the tree, Hun's head spit in her hand. This of course impregnated her, and she soon gave birth to Hunahpú and Xbalanqué. The twins ended up under the unloving care of their paternal grandmother who made their childhood difficult - as did continual confrontations with their older half brothers. Despite whatever obstacles their family and others presented, the pair always managed to succeed.

At one point during their childhood, the twins wanted to be gardeners when they grew up. However, their early horticulture efforts were continually thwarted by the area wildlife. They tried trapping the pesky critters, but managed only to capture a rat. Seemingly a minor victory, the encounter with the rodent proved to be the turning point in their lives. To save its own life, the rat offered up some very important information. It revealed that the twins destiny lie not in planting, but in kicking. It then went on to expose where the twin's grandmother had hidden their father and uncle's old game equipment. It was a very smart rat.

With knowledge of their true calling and their ancestors' gear in hand, the twins practiced. They kicked and they kicked. They excelled! Then one day during a boisterous ball game, the youthful Hunahpú and Xbalanqué managed to disturb the underlords of Xibalba. The Xibalbans invited the two down for a "friendly" ball game...

To be continued... stay tuned for part 2, which will be posted sometime during the next long-count calendar cycle.

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