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Pati Yala

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Pati Yala (Sanaman, pati meaning stick and yala being a species of tree) is a traditional Sanaman sport and considered the national sport of both Sanilla and Amarra. It was first documented in the 11th century. It is not known who codified the sport, but it is known that it grew out of the spontaneous games played between farms after the rice harvest. The modern game is regulated by the Pati Yala Association, headquartered in Hala City.

Traditional form

The traditional form of Pati Yala is played between representatives of neighbouring rice farms. The participants first fashion their sticks, or pati, from tropical wood found in a nearby forest. The wood traditionally used was that from the Yala tree, but any hard, tropical wood was allowed. The ball consisted of soaked rice wrapped in a tight ball using hemp or dried palm tree leaves. The rules of the game were rather simple. The teams of five would take up positions in adjacent rice fields and would hit the ball back and forth between them. The ball could either be returned in several ways. Either directly, by catching it in one hand and returning it oneself, or caught and passed to a teammate who then returned it. A team would score when the ball touched the water on the other team's side. Games would last for a set number of sets, with each set consisting of a set number of balls. 15 balls per set and up to five sets was considered a standard game.

Modern form

The modern game has kept the overall structure of the traditional form, but moved the game to either an outdoor field or indoor court. The mid line that in the traditional game is marked by the raised walking path between paddy fields, is in the modern game marked by a 0.5 meter high wall if played indoors, and a grassy mound if played outdoors. The teams score by either bouncing the ball on the other side, or by the other team missing to return after at most one bounce. Returns can be made in three ways, either direct return, catch and return or catch and pass. Catch and return is when the player catches the ball with one hand and returns holding the pati with the other hand. Catch and pass is when the player catches the ball, then passes it to a teammate for a return. The field has to be at least 800 m2 and at most 1,500 m2, elongated and play taking place along the longer axis. The game is played over two halves of 30 minutes each, but there is no switching of sides. The team with the highest score after regulation time wins.