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Tuesday, November 28, 2023

The Amazonas: A distinctively rural softball team that plays to win

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The Amazonas quickly began to inspire girls interested in sports. Photo: Carlos Rosado Van der Gracht / Yucatán Magazine

The Amazonas of Yaxunah start off every softball game with Maya battle cry, ending with a roaring mujeres fuertes!

Though the team started off in 2018 as an outlet to simply have some fun, the Amazonas and their unique style soon captured the attention of everyone in town and far beyond. 

They are most famous for the fact that they play barefoot and wear the traditional Mestizo huipil. But make no mistake, though these women play mostly for fun, they are real athletes with a deep passion for the game. 

Yucatán’s Amazonas got attention for their attire and bare feet and respect for their quality of play. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht / Yucatán Magazine

“People often ask us why we wear no shoes and play in our huipiles, but the truth is that this is what we wear in our day-to-day life. It’s what is most comfortable for us,” says shortstop Nayeli Uicab. “Besides, there is nothing quite like the feeling of the field and earth directly beneath your feet.”

Though the softball team started off in 2018 as an outlet for fun, the Amazonas and their unique style soon captured the world’s attention. Photo: Carlos Rosado Van der Gracht / Yucatán Magazine

Over the past couple of years, the Amazonas have begun to really garner attention, which has made them celebrities in Yucatán. They now travel almost every weekend across southeastern Mexico to play in exhibition matches. Not bad for a team from a town with a population of just around 600 people.

Last year, the Amazonas made history when they filled Mérida’s 15,000-seat Kukulcán Alamo stadium in a match against another all-women’s team, La Natividad de Sucilá.

“There was so much fanfare and fireworks, and the chanting of the jam-packed stadium was simply electrifying. It was such a big moment for us and one we will always remember,” says outfielder Rosy Cuxin. 

The Amazonas of Yaxunah quickly became the stuff of legend across Mexico. Photo: Carlos Rosado Van der Gracht / Yucatán Magazine

“It’s quite exciting!” says squad pitcher and captain Sitlali Poot. “It’s quite a big deal.”

Despite all living in Yaxunah, the members of the Amazonas originally came from rural communities across the state and range in age from teenagers to women in their late 50s.

“When I was a little girl, I loved going out and playing with the boys because a girls’ softball team was unthinkable to most in the community,” says Celia Lorenza Chan Canul, who plays first base. “When we got the team together in 2018, at first, my husband did not really approve. But when he saw how happy it made me, he eventually came around and became one of our greatest champions. Now that he has passed away, this game is my way of honoring his memory and the life we built.”

Facebook: @AmazonasDeYaxunah

Related: Amazonas fly to Arizona to pitch the first ball in an MLB

Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy, and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway.
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