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 Shooting requires the simultaneous participation of two teams. Each team is made up of 8-10 players (at least half of them must be women). Five players will be simultaneously on the field. There will be a single referee known as the “mol” (a respected person), who will be in charge of counting the points. Four of the five players will be inside the "live" section of the court and the fifth player will assist his/her teammates from the sidelines.
The players are free to enter and leave the court, 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 always wear blindfolds. The only player who will not be blindfolded is the player assisting from the sidelines. As a result of the perils of being blindfolded, players on the "live" section of the team will be required to wear knee and elbow pads. All supplies to play Braille Shooting (balls, field signs, and goals) MUST be made from recycled materials. There is an explicit ban on the use of fossil fuels.
The ball, made with a mix of recycled and/or reused materials, has bells inside. The purpose is that these bells function as an auditory device that helps the players to follow (track) the ball. The bells are a key component for the development of the game since the senses that are activated are fundamentally two: hearing and touch. The ball cannot fly, it must roll on the surface to be valid. One of the reasons behind this regulation is to avoid injures to a player, as ALL players on the 'live' court are blindfolded. If the ball is thrown through an aerial pass or rebound, the offending team will lose possession of the ball and the other team will take control. The ball can be stopped and caught with any part of the body. The way to score points is by making shots into any of the four baskets.
These baskets are placed on the corners of the rectangular court. If the score is made from outside the shooting area, the point value is five. If the score falls into the basket, shot into the shooting area, it is worth one point. As for the field, it is marked with string and tape: An “L” in each corner, in the form of a 1.5-meter square as shooting areas and a common area in which they will dispute possession of the ball. Each match will last 40 minutes (two halves of 15 minutes each and a 10-minute break between the two halves).
THE RULES BOOK
About the teams
1.1. Braille Shooting requires two teams to play each match. Each team will have a minimum of eight players and a maximum of ten, so that changes can be made. Each team must simultaneously dress five players, three women and two men. Four of the players must be inside the field 'live' and one assisting from the sidelines.
1.2 Each team will elect a regular captain (guide) and a substitute captain.
1.3 The change of players is unlimited, and players can enter and leave the field with no restrictions other than the limit of 4 players at a time on the “live” court.
About the games
2.1 The captains of the teams that will play each match will meet 10 minutes prior to the start of the match and will define two or three specific rules for that match. It is suggested that, for example, they agree on how to let their players know their location on the field of play (clicks, whistles, footsteps, etc.).
2.2 The organizing staff of the tournament will meet for a period of 10 minutes at the end of each match to deduct, when appropriate, points for Fair Play/violations of the agreements of the first half.
2.3 There will be two referees (Mol). One will be in charge of observing the game and marking fouls and the other of keeping track of time.
2.4 The referees (Mol) will hand in the final score of the match to the captains of each team.
About the captains (guides)
Regarding the player in possession of the ball:
3.1 The guide will guide the players considering their location and will be able to decide if it is convenient to shoot to the basket or if it is more convenient to pass it to another teammate.
3.2 In a penalty, the guide can shake the basket so that, through the sound of the bottle caps, the shooter may locate the basket.
Regarding players without the ball:
3.3 The guide will locate and recommend moving players without the ball to favorable positions to score.
3.4 He will request the support of players outside the court to recover balls that leave the field of play.
About the referee
4.1. There will be two referees (Mol). One will be in charge of observing the game and marking fouls and the other of timing the times.
4.2 The referee, known as a 'mol' (person of great respect) will be responsible for counting the points.
4.3 The referees will hand in the final score of the match to the captains of each team.
About the equipment
5.1. Each of the players on the 'live' field must be blindfolded with micropore tape, a bandana and a mask. The only player who is not required to wear a blindfold is the one assisting from the sideline (guide).
5.2. Each player must wear the following set of protections throughout the match: knee pads and elbow pads.
5.3. It is desirable that each team's jerseys be of a different color and/or have a particular artisan design.
5.4. The ball must have at least three bells and/or any other noise-producing material.
About the game field
6.1. The court is marked with string and tape: An L in each corner, in the form of a 1.5-meter square as shooting areas and a common area in which they will dispute possession of the ball. The field will be rectangular and will measure 6 meters wide by 10 meters long.
About the matches’ times
7.1. Each match will last 40 minutes (two halves of 15 minutes each and a 10-minute break between the two halves).
7.2 In case of a tie, each team will take five free throws at the baskets from three meters.
7.3 The team will decide which players will take the shots. They will shoot blindfolded and shoot alternately between teams.
Passes and shots
8.1. All passes must be made by rolling the ball. Otherwise, the pass will not count, and the possession of the ball will go to the opposing team.
8.2. When the ball enters the field, not coming from one of the guides, but from a referee, it is considered a free ball and can be shot at any time without the need for previous passes at ground level.
8.3. To score points, shots must stay inside the basket (shots will not count if they bounce off the basket).
8.4. Shots made from the shooting area (“L”) will count one point.
8.5. Shots made from the general playing area will count five points.
8.6. Shots made stepping over the L area will count one point.
8.7. Penalty shots will be executed from three meters away from any of the baskets. In case of scoring, it will be worth 10 points.
About the shot clock
9.1 In order to make the game fluid, physically demanding, and fun, each team will have the ball, during each possession, for a maximum of 30 seconds.
9.2 After 10 seconds, the Mol will emit a short whistle; after 20 seconds, the Mol will emit two short whistles; after 28 seconds, the Mol will emit three short whistles.
9.3 The Mol will emit a long whistle to announce the change of possession (the ball will pass to the opposing team).
9.4 Possession of the ball is lost for any of the following:
• The 30-second clock expires.
• A basket is scored.
• The ball goes out of bounds.
• A foul is made.
Fouls and sanctions
10.1. It is forbidden to talk on the ‘live’ field. However, there may be non-verbal communication as agreed at the start of the game (see rule 2.1). The only player from each team who can talk is the player assisting from the sideline (guide).
10.2 When there is a major offense (hugging without letting go, tripping, throwing, or pushing another rival player) a penalty will be awarded to the offended team.
10.3 Every time any of these rules is not obeyed, it will be considered a foul and the team that makes the foul will lose possession of the ball and it will pass into the hands of one of the referees.
10.4 The penalty will be taken three meters away from any of the baskets. In case of scoring, it will be worth 10 points.
About stealing the ball
11.1 The ball may be stolen by the opposing team, either when it is on the ground or when it is in the possession of another player.
11.2 If the dispute over the ball generates a "knot" between the participants (understood as a struggle between two players, during more than three seconds), the referee will whistle repeatedly so that both players release the ball, and it passes into the hands of one of the referees who will roll the ball into the field so that it can be taken by any player. The ball rolled into the field by a referee is considered a free ball that can be scored right away without the need to pass it first to a teammate.
About the tournament and the points system
12.1 The tournament will be scheduled at least three months in advance, ensuring that teams have 6-8 weeks to train and prepare for the tournament.
12.2 The winners of each match will receive 3 points. The losing team will receive a point. In case of a tie, 2 points will be awarded.
12.3 The tournament will be played in a round robin format. The top four teams will qualify for the playoffs. The number 1 ranked team will play the number 4 ranked team, and the 2nd and 3rd ranked teams will play the other semi-final. The winners of the semifinals will play the championship game.
Any situation not defined by these regulations will be decided by the contending teams in each match, either before or after each match.
These rules and regulations have been designed considering the following SDGs 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.