Today I’m thankful for rarajipari.
Raraji-what??? Rarajipari is a game played by the Tarahumara people of the Copper Canyons of Mexico. Chris Mcdougall talks about the game in great detail in his book Born to Run. Essentially two teams of several runners each have a small ball they have to kick with their feet while they run some crazy distance (sometimes up to 40+ miles) while passing the ball through rocks, trees, trails, and anything else that gets in the way.
The reason the game is popular amongst the Tarahumara is that it is a way to be competitive while relying on the ultimate team work. While the team may have one runner who is faster than anyone else they need the help of every else on the team. Also, regardless of how strong of a runner the team members are they can all keep up as there are many times when the ball will get stuck in a bush and everyone stops and rests until it is out.
So why the hell am I thankful for a game played by a remote tribe in the Copper Canyons? Well, it was the inspiration for Dominic and I did this morning. We take a small ball, in this case a size 3 futsol ball, and run about and down the quiet streets near us and chase each other while passing the ball back and forth. It’s a blast! We got a solid 3+ miles of running in while having a blast trying trick passes, trying to hit each other with the ball, firing off passes that the other has to break into a sprint to chase, ill fated attempts at juggling the ball, and laughing and smiling the whole way. It was a fantastic way to spend some time with just the two of us while Becky and Gavin were at yoga.
One of the reasons I am particularly a huge fan of this game is that you have a choice to make, get frustrated at a wayward pass, an unexpected obstacle, or sand burr in the ankle, or you can shrug it off and keep enjoying every minute. It’s a great reminder that life is what you make of it. In Born to Run one of the Tarahumara are quoted as saying,
“We say the rarajipari is the game of life. You never know how hard it will be. You never know when it will end. You can’t control it. You can only adjust.”
If Dominic and I can use a game like this to keep us focused on the thought above all while having a great time together I’d have to say I’m very thankful for Rarajipari.