National | Sports

MaxPreps: Rez ball plays a big role in life on the Navajo Nation





"It was four hours before tip-off. The wind whipped sharply and briskly from the north and dust swirled in every direction. Temperatures dropped into the 30s. Snow fell by the evening.

Hundreds of American Indians were bundled in bright colored wool jackets and blankets — blue and red, yellow and green — outside the Wildcat Den's ticket booth on the campus of Chinle High School.

The windows didn't open for another three hours.

There wasn't much chatter. No loud horns, banter or school fight songs. There was no complaining either, and no tailgating. Just standing and waiting. Waiting and standing. It's part of the ritual, like eagle feathers for protection in player lockers or blending corn pollen into water for harmony.

This was Rez Ball on game day, and patience, loyalty and love for the game prevailed."

Get the Story:
Beyond the X: Rez Ball fuels basketball fever in Arizona's Navajo Nation (MaxPreps 2/20)