Source: Indian Games
Category: Ball Games
INTRODUCTORY NOTE.--Some stories credit the Moon as the giver of this game
to the women, by whom it is exclusively played throughout the United States
except among the tribes in Northern California, where the men use the game.
There are indications that the Double-ball Game was known upon this
continent in the remote past.
The peculiar ball employed for this game is composed of two small stuffed
pouches connected by a band, or two billets of wood about five inches long,
made like thick pegs with heads and ornamented on all sides with carvings;
a leather thong five to eight inches long is attached at each end to the
neck of each of the two billets. Dr. Culin reports an ingenious specimen
made by the Maricopa Indians of Arizona; that double-ball is made from
narrow strips of leather braided to form a band, each end of which is
enlarged by braiding so as to make a ball, the finished article being about
eight inches in length. (Ibid., p.665, Fig. 882.)
_Properties_.--One double-ball; as many sticks as players; red and yellow
head-bands, equal in number, for the two sides of players.
_Directions_.--The double-ball should be made in camp in the following
manner: A strip of leather or of strong, closely woven brown cloth from
fifteen to twenty inches long. For six inches from both ends the strip
should be about seven inches wide; the portion of the strip between these
wide ends should be about three inches wide. The wide ends are to form the
pouches, and the narrower middle section the band to connect the two
pouches. The two edges of the strip should be lapped and strongly sewed the
entire length of the strip, except a small opening about an inch long left
on the side of each of the pouches. Through this opening the pouches are
filled with dry sand, then the edges are securely sewed together so that no
sand can escape. These pouches are the "balls." The sides of the pouches
should be decorated with designs painted in bright colors and a little tuft
or tassel of red yarn fastened at the middle of the bottom of the pouch.
The sticks should be about thirty-two inches long, not too heavy and
somewhat pointed at one end that is slightly curved. Each stick should be
marked by an individual device so that it can be claimed by its owner.
Two wickets, made by crotched poles about five and a half to six feet high,
having a bar fastened across the top, are placed in line with each other,
one at the East, the other at the West, and as far apart as the limits of
the camp grounds will permit. A red streamer to be tied to the eastern
wicket and a yellow streamer to the western wicket.
The players are divided into two parties of equal numbers and lots should
be drawn to decide which side shall have the eastern goal, and all of that
side must wear red head-bands; the other side must wear yellow head-bands
to show that theirs is the western goal.
An Umpire must be chosen, to whom belongs the duty of tossing the ball when
necessary; to keep the score, and to settle any disputes.
To make a point the ball must be tossed so as to hang on the crossbar of
the wicket. An agreement must be made as to how many points shall
constitute the game.
The players stand in two rows about fifteen to twenty feet apart, one color
on one side, the other color opposite. The Umpire takes a place between the
two lines and as near as possible to the middle of the rows. When all are
in readiness the double-ball is tossed by the Umpire straight up into the
air, and all those whose places are near the middle of the rows watch the
descent of the "ball" and try to catch on their sticks the connecting cord
of the double-ball. If one succeeds, she tries to send it down the line
toward the goal of her side; those of the opposite side try to prevent
success to this movement and to send the "ball" in the other direction. The
"ball" should not be allowed to touch the ground from the time it is tossed
until it is lodged on the wicket. The side that lets the "ball" fall to the
ground loses a count, and the side that keeps the "ball" up until it
reaches the goal scores two points, equal to four counts.
Next: HOOP AND JAVELIN