This article is for quizzes on Tuesday May 3rd...
Pato, also called juego del pato (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈxweɣo ðel ˈpato], literally "duck game"), is a game played on horseback that combines elements from polo and basketball. It is the national sport of Argentina since 1953.
Pato is Spanish for "duck", as early games used a live duck inside a basket instead of a ball. Accounts of early versions of pato have been written since 1610. The playing field would often stretch the distance between neighborin(ranches). The first team to reach its own casco (ranch house) with the duck would be declared the winner.
Pato was banned several times during its history because of the violence—not only to the duck; many gauchos were trampled underfoot, and many more lost their lives in knife fights started in the heat of the game. In 1796, a Catholic priest insisted that pato players who died in such a way should be denied Christian burial. Government ordinances forbidding the practice of pato were common throughout the 19th century.
In modern pato, two four-member teams riding on horses fight for possession of a ball which has six conveniently-sized handles, and score by throwing the ball through a vertically positioned ring (as opposed to the horizontal rim used in basketball). The rings have a 100 cm (3.3 ft) diameter, and are located atop 240 cm (7.9 ft) high poles. A closed net, extending for 140 cm (4.6 ft), holds the ball after goals are scored.