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insults, the heralds presented the challenge which was accepted with like
The entire night before the game, the players were kept awake
listening to "pep" talks. If one of them dozed off, it was taken as a sign
that the game would be lost. The dreams of professional "dream-
sleepers" also were supposed to indicate the results.
The day of the game, everyone from the village represented in the
contest gathered at the place where the game was to be played. At the
beginning, about forty or fifty players on a side, lined up glaring at their
opponents and awaiting inspection of the ball by the referee and team
This ball according to accounts, consisted of a mass "nearly as
large and hard as a cannonball," and was covered with deer skin. The
aim of the contest was to seize the ball and "drop-kick it to the hollowed
top of a pole planted in the center of the field. When the ball hit exactly
in the hollow and remained there, it was considered a goal. The team
performing this difficult feat eleven times was the winner.
The ball, having been approved by the referees and field captains,
was dropped into the mass of naked combatants. Father de Paina, in a
play account, wrote: "Striving together some would fall on top of others,
and on these others would climb up, making