Argentina’s National Pastime: Pato

While most people believe soccer to be Argentina‘s national pastime, I was surprised to learn from a local that it’s actually something with very unsavory beginnings. Pato, or duck, is a game that combines polo and basketball, and is the national sport of Argentina. To play, two teams of four on horseback fight for possession of a ball that is equipped with six leather handles. The object of the game is to fling the ball into a tall net, as the team with the most goals is the winner. So why is the game called duck? Because in the early days, gauchos used a live duck instead of a ball. Back then, the game was so intense that many players lost their lives not only by being trampled by the horses, but also by being stabbed in moments of passion.

For a better idea on how the game is played, check out the video above.