Pelota mixteca originated thousands of years ago in Southern Mexico. It was once played deep in the mountains of Oaxaca during Spanish rule, and with the independence of Mexico came a revival of the sport — now a prominent pastime for the region. When groups migrated to the United States in the 1980s, they brought their intricately crafted and adorned pelota mixteca gloves with them and formed teams all over California and Texas.

In Santa Barbara, the team gathers every Thursday for a traditional game of pelota mixteca with their friends and family at Santa Barbara High School. But the patch of dirt they play on is too small and uneven. The players wish two things: to get a better playing court and to pass the game to the next generation.

Alexandra Goldberg spoke with Independent news reporter Ryan P. Cruz about the origins and traditions of the game, then with pelota mixteca player Fernando Cruz about the importance of keeping the tradition alive. City council member Oscar Gutierrez joined us on the show to talk about his initiative to get the players a better place to practice, and how community support is integral.

You can listen to The Indy wherever you get your podcasts. Stream on Apple PodcastsSpotifyGoogle PodcastsCastbox, and more! Check out our Linktree for more information.

Hosted by Alexandra Goldberg.

The Indy: A Podcast was co-created by Molly McAnany and the Santa Barbara Independent.

All music for this episode written by Molly McAnany.

Follow The Indy on social media @theindypod to support and contact for advertisements.

To contact city council member Oscar Gutierrez about a potential pelota mixteca court, you can reach him at

This podcast was underwritten in part by the Mickey Flacks Journalism Fund for Social Justice, a proud and innovative supporter of local news. To make a contribution, go to To sponsor The Indy, contact

Most Popular Photos/Videos


Please note this login is to submit events or press releases. Use this page here to login for your Independent subscription

Not a member? Sign up here.