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Dr. Saul Miller


Consulting in Mexico I took a day off to visit Chichen-Itsa, perhaps the most spiritual site of the Mayan civilization. These very impressive remains in the middle of the Yuccatan jungle are some of the best reminders of what’s left of the once powerful meso-american culture. The Mayans had a sophisticated architecture, agriculture, and astronomy, along with some bizarre religious practices including human sacrifice.

As a sport psychologist I was interested in the game the Mayans played in Chichen-Itsa’s huge ball court, the biggest and best in all Mayaland. In keeping with their spiritual practices following the match there was a ritual sacrifice. What is surprising was that it didn’t involve the losing team. No, it was the captain of the winning team that was killed.

Now the story goes that in sacrifice he could realize a higher state of spiritual being amongst the gods. A Mexican soccer fan and friend of mind joked that the practice might play on the conscious of Mexico’s national soccer team and explain why they always seem to underachieve in World Cup competitions.


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