Tuesday, December 18, 2007
We were walking around in Las Cañitas Saturday afternoon and stumbled upon our first Pato Argentina match.
Pato was declared by President Juan Perón in 1953 to be the national game of Argentina. It is an odd cross between Polo and Basketball. In fact, we thought it was a Polo match at first seeing how Polo is a big sport here and we were at the Polo fields.
Pato has its roots in the Estancias of early Argentina where Gauchos would fight over a basket containing a live duck (hence the name Pato). The first team to reach their own estancia's ranch house with the duck was declared the winner.
It was a very violent game in the early days and gauchos were often trampled under foot while fighting for the duck. If they weren't killed by the horses, they might fall victim during the knife fights that would break out afterwards.
According to the Wikipedia, the Roman Catholic Church banned to sport and refused burial to anyone who died playing it.
During the winning goal above, one of the blue team's players fell off the horse and was injured. You can see the horse falling in the bottom right.
Wow, a game on horseback like basketball with gunfights and knife fights aftwards. Sounds tailor made for Texas. How come a cool sport like this never took off given our cowboy culture?