UNDERSTANDING THE GAME
Braille Shot (Tiro en Braille) is inspired in two games:
1) The preColumbian “Ball Game”
(Juego de Pelota in Spanish)
Its design was inspired in the 2030 Agenda and the resulting 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
Braille Shot also attempts to honor the Mexican National Development Plan (201-2024), as well as bearing in mind the academic regulations set by Universidad de Guanajuato.
The “end game” is the inclusion of persons with vision impairment. Additionallly, it was designed to foster the participation of any person who wants to take part in this sporting activity, regardless of their sexual orientation, their religious beliefs, their skills, their ethnic group and/or their nationality.
Braille Shot aims at trascending the dominant formats in modern sport, i.e., women and men’s distinctive tournaments, as well as a separate para-sport.
Although Braille Shot is open to any person, the game is meant to be played by university students all over Mexico and hopefully in other social locations that deem our methodology appropriate for the local realities and/or needs.
Braille Shot requires the simultaneous participation of two teams. Each team is composed of 8-10 players (at least half of them must be women). Five players will be simulatenously on the field. There will be a sigle referee known as the “mol” (a respected person), who will be in charge of counting the points. Four of the five players will be within the “live” section of the court and the fifth player will be assisting her/his fellow teammates from the sidelines. Players can freely come and come out, as long as four players are on the “live” section of the court and one player is assisting from the sidelines. The four players on the “live “ section of the court will wear blindfolds at all times. The only player that will not be blindfolded is the player assisting from the sidelines. As a result of the perils that being blindfolded pose, the players on the “live” section of the will mandatorily wear both, knee and elbow pads. All inputs for playing Braille Shot (balls, court signaling, and goals) MUST be made using recycled materials. There is an explicit prohibition of the use of fossil fuels. The ball, made with a mix of rags and other recycled and/or reused materials has sleoghbells inside it. The purpose is that such sleighbells will function as an auditive device assisting the players to track (locate) the ball. The selighbells are a key component among the game’s inputs as the senses that are activated are fundamentally two: hearing and touch. Balls cannot fly, they must be roll on the surface in order to be valid. One of the reasons behind this regulation is to avoid hurting a player, since ALL players within the ‘live’ court are blindfolded. Shall the ball is thrown through an air pass or bouncing, the violating team will lose the ball’s posession and the other team will take control. Players who are not in control of the ball at any given time must remain silent. The ball may de stopped and grabbed using any part of the body. The way to score points is by making shots inside either one of the two baskets. These baskets are located in two corners of the rectangular court. If the shot that goes inside the basket is made from outside the shooting are, the point-value is five. If the shot falls inside the basket, thrown within the shoooting area, it is worth one point. Only one player may go inside the sooting area at a time. Regarding the court, it is divided into three sections: two shooting areas for each team and a common (neutral) area in which they will dispute the ball’s possesion. It must be noted that all players withing the ‘live’ court must remain silent at all times, as the only qualified players to talk is the player acting from the sidelines. The match (game) has a 20 minute total duration. There are two ten minute halves with a five minute break between the two halves.
THE RULES BOOK
1.1. Braille Shot requires two teams to play each match. Each team shall have a minimum of eight players and a maximum of 10, so that changes can be made. Each team must simultaneously field five persons, three women and two men. Four of the players must be within the ‘live’ field and one assisting from the sidelines.
1.2 The change of players is unlimited and players may go in and out of the field without restrictions other than the limit of 5 players fielded at a time.
On the equipment.
2.1. Each of the players within the ‘live’ field must wear a blindfold. The only player that is not required to use the blindfold is the one assisting from the sidelines.
2.2. Each palyers must wear during the entire match the following set of protections: knee pads and elbow pads.
2.3. It is strongly desirable that the shirts of each team are of a different color and that they have a particular knitting design.
2.4. The ball shall have at least three sleighbells
3.1. The referee, known as ‘mol’ (person of high respect) will be the responsible of keeping the point count. Shot that go inside the basket from outside the shooting area are worth five points. Shots scored from inside the shooting area are worth one point. The five point value is not awarded if the shooting player steps in the dividing line between the shooting area and the general area. In that scenario only one point will be awarded.
Playing field (the court).
4.1. The court is divided into three sections: two shooting areas (one area protected for each team). This shooting area will be one meter (lenght) and five meters (width). The general playing area will be 8 meters long (lenght) and five meters (width).
Faults and sanctions
5.1. It is prohibited to talk inside the ‘live’ field. The only player of each team that may talk is the player assisting from the sidelines.
5.2. Any players with two faults will get a yellow card (warning). A player with four faults will receive a red card (expelled).
Passes and shots
6.1. All passes must be made by rolling the ball. Otherwise, the pass will not count and the ball possesion will pass to the opposite team.
6.2. A player that is located within the shooting area may not be blocked or stopped from attempting her/his shot.
6.3. In order to obtain points, the shots must remain inside the basket (shots will not count if they bounce off).
6.4. Shots made from the shooting area will count one point.
6.5. Shots made from the general playing area will count five points.
Length of the match
7.1. The match will last 20 minutes, divided into two ten-minute halves. There will be a five minute break between sets.
7.2. In case of a draw after the two regular sets, there will be a third set, with a five minute duration.
7.3 Shall the match be tied after the third set, each team will take five free shots. If the match is still tied, the winner will be decided by sudden death.
On the tournament and the point system
8.1 The tournament will be scheduled at the beginning of the academic term, making sure teams have 6-8 weeks to train and prepare for the tournament.
8.2 Winners will take 3 points. The losing team will be awarded one point.
8.3 The tournament will be played using a round-robin format. The top four teams will qualify for the playoffs. Team ranked number 1 will play team ranked number 4, and teams ranked 2 and 3 will play the other semifinal. The winners of the semifinals will play the championship match.
Any situation not defined by this rulesbook will be decided by the contending teams in each match, either before or after each match.
This rulesbook has been designed bearing in mind the follow SDG and some specific objectives:
Goal 3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all
3.5 Strengthen the prevention and treatment of substance abuse, including narcotic drug abuse and harmful use of alcohol.
Goal 5. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
5.1 End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere.
5.c Adopt and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at all levels.
Goal 12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns impacts on human health and the environment.
12.5 By 2030, substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse.
Goal16. Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.
16.7 Ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels.
16.a Strengthen relevant national institutions, including through international cooperation, for building capacity at all levels, in particular in developing countries, to prevent violence and combat terrorism and crime.
Goal 17. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development.
17.16 Enhance the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development, complemented by multi-stakeholder partnerships that mobilize and share knowledge, expertise, technology and financial resources, to support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals in all countries, in particular developing countries.
The inventory of materials needed for the game includes:
Braille Shot was designed bearing in mind the SDG.
SDG 12 calls for a responsible and thoughtful production and consumption. It calls for the considerable reduction by 2030 of waste through prevention, reduction, recycling, and reuse. The materials have been carefully selected bearing in mind the spirit and letter of SDG 12.
3 balls: made from recycled newspapers covered by a paste layer made from water and flour. The filling of the ball requires three sleighbells.
4 baskets: the baskets are made from wood and they may be painted (preferably) using the names and brands of the sponsors, as well as logos of the SDG.
A whistle: to be used by the referee.
Blindfold: preferably made by indian knitters.
As it has been explained in the documents on the project and the call for proposals, our initiative attempts to take under strong consideration the General Law on Physical Culture and Sport (LGFCD for its initials in Spanish), as well as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
As for the former, the LGCFD, Article 88 is worth taking into account when thinking about the design of the sporting activity, but also when considering how the uniforms for the participantes could look like:
Article 88 of the LGCFD was modified on January 19, 2018 and reads:
Traditional and autochtonous games as well as Charrerría will be considered as part of the cultural heritage of the country. The Federation, the federal entities, the municipalities and the territorial demarcations of Mexico City within the realm of their competence shall preserve, support, promote, foster, and stimulate them, celebrating agreements and collaboration practices between them and the National Sport Associations and the states’. Municipal and Mexico City Sport Associations (Cámara de Diputados, 2013: 34).
In Mexico, Zurita et al (2008) published an impressive compilation of nearly 100 Pre-Comubian games and sports. This evinces that Mesoamerican sport’s activity extended well beyond the famous Mayan Ball Game (Juego de Pelota); therefore, the preservation, the support, the promotion, and the fostering of autochtonous games or in our case autochtonous-based sporting activities are far from being a nostalgic outcry trying to revive distant epochs or cultures. The variety of games/sports includes ball, running, throwing, and equlibrium games. The call to include indigenous games within Sportland (Giulianotti et al., 2019) moves beyond an academic demand. It becomes a call for the functional implementation of the global partnership at the national level. In this respect, the 2030 Agenda states:
79. We also encourage Member States to conduct regular and inclusive reviews of progress at the national and subnational levels, which are country led and country driven. Such reviews should draw on contributions from indigenous peoples, civil society, the private sector and other stakeholders, in line with national circumstances, policies and priorities. National parliaments as well as other institutions can also support these processes (Dudfield and Dingwall-Smith, 2015).
The 2030 Agenda continues to set goals relevant to the SDG and specific targets (Dudfield and Dingwall-Smith, 2015):
4.7. By 2030 ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development (Dudfield and Dingwall-Smith, 2015).
Based on Article 88 of the LGCD, the spirit of the 2030 Agenda, and specific SDGs, we as a team, during the second face-to-face session of the online seminar, came to the conclusion that maybe a way to generate practical and meaningful economic activity among the various indigenous groups, from which we are borrowing their cultural heritage, is to ask them to use their knitting traditions to knit the Polo-style jerseys of the participants. Once we learned about the winning proposal and the need of playing with handkerchiefs to blindfold the participants, the same indigenous skill could be used to make the blindfolds. This has a double purpose: to recover, promote, and preserve the cultural heritage of the country, plus activating in a meaningful way the economic activities of the indigenous populations. On April and May 2020, there were significant negotiations that led to an agreement with different knitters from the community of San Juan Chamula in the Chiapas Heights Region (Los Altos de Chiapas) to produce 70 polo-style jerseys and 70 handkerchiefs. 10 sets were knitted for 7 different teams. All uniforms (jerseys and handkerchiefs) would use as the background colors the three color of Universidad de Guanajuato –blue, yellow, and white.
Each design has a history and a meaning that we would like to share with our readership.
Dudfield, O and Dingwall-Smith, M. (2015). Sport for development and peace and the 2030 agenda for sustainable development. London: The Commonwelath.
Giulianotti, R., Coalter, F., Collison, H., et al. (2019). “Rethinking Sportland: A New Research Agenda for the Sport for Development and Peace Sector”. Journal of Sport and Social Issues, Vol. 43, No. 6, pp. 1–27.
Zurita, A., Padilla, A, et al. (2008). Juegos y deportes autóctonos y tradicionales de México. México, D.F: Federación Mexicana de Juegos y Deportes Autóctonos y Tradicionales.
Mushroom with thyme embroidery
The circles are a traditional trait of the San Juan Chamula embroidery. They represent the abundant mushrooms known as “Checheb” in Tzotzil language. The thyme used to join the links of the chain is inspired by the important sowing of this herb in the Chamula community.
The half-like circles are a traditional trait of the San Juan Chamula embroidery. These circles represent tha abundant mushrooms, known as “ “Checheb” in Tzotzil language.
This embroidery represents the economic “gravity center” of San Juan Chamula, that is the cornfields that provide the basis of the culinary of the region (and to a great extent of Mexico as a country). Corn production in Mexico is a matter of “national security”.
This embroidery represents the peacock’s fluffy tail. The peacock is a domestic bird of uttermost relevance for the subsitence of the community. The fluffy embroidery represents the pride and dignity of the people from San Juan Chamula.
This embroidery represents the daisies that endlessly sprout during economic “gravity center” of San Juan Chamula, that is the cornfields that provide the rain season. The rain season is a blessing in a region that lacks important rivers and that neither has relevant irrigation infrastructure.
This embroidery represents the ferns that grow both in the mountains and the numerous forests that characterize the Chiapas Heights region.