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Sr. Ashford jugando el Balero
Story and Instructions for the BALERO aka Cup and Ball or Ring and Pin
Compiled by Roni Capin Rivera-Ashford, 2014
The history of Balero is not clear, yet has some amazing stories. No one is sure if this game originated in France in the 10th century, known as bilboquet, or if the Eskimos, Ojibwa and Algonquin Indians created the first ones from bone or sharp stick with a leather string usually made of deer hide. This game became popular in Mexico by the 16th century.
The object of the game in those days was to put the bone or stick through the holes of the leather piece. Cup and Ball or Ring and Pin are two other names by which it is known in more modern times, and the goal is similar with variations of objects.
There are many other names for this traditional game in different countries from all over the world. Check it out and you’ll see that it has been a popular game in most cultures. www.elbalero.com
King Henry III of France enjoyed this game so much, he was often seen playing it in public. In other countries, centuries ago, some royalty and upper class people had baleros, bilboquets carved from ivory. Some of these people would carry one in their pocket to keep themselves entertained when they had nothing else to say or do.
This game is excellent for helping develop eye-hand coordination and accuracy, plus learn that practice improves your skills with this game, or just about anything in life that you want to get good at.
The simpler model is made of wood - a cup with a ball connected by a string. The object is not to use any other body part except your hands and propel the ball attempting to get it to land inside the cup.
When using the more advanced balero, the goal is to propel the wooden sphere and find a way to get it to land on the stick. The stick is made so it fits perfectly in the hole which is carved into the bottom of the sphere.
There are several different styles of play and each one has a designated number of points that can be earned. Some of these game names are: la simple, la doble, la vertical, la mariquita, la puñalada, and la porteña. Some tricks that can be done are capirucho, por atrás, and media vuelta. You may find these online.
Remember, have fun, be safe, be a good sport and as Tata says, “Practice makes perfect!”