"In Mesoamerica, the ballgame had a sacred function related directly to the myths of Creation and Origin. The Maize God died and was reborn in the ballcourt. The Maya defined the ballcourt as a crack in the top of a mountain or in the carapace of the Cosmic Turtle, because these were also conceived as rebirth places of the Maize God. People went down this crack to contact their ancestors and consult oracular deities. The Maya and other mesoamericans negotiated and sealed alliances in the ballcourt, and captured kings died by sacrifice in the ballcourt."
Linda Schele & Peter Mathews, The Code of Kings, p. 73