"Es una bola."
Translation:It is a ball.
In Spain we use "pelota" for the ball one plays with (in sports and such) and "bola" for spherical things in general: una bola de pelo = a hair ball.
The difference between bola and pelota has nothing to do with sports, but mainly with the material it is made from. "pelota" is used not only in sports, but also in games (e.g. "una pelota de playa")
Bola is used when referring to something that looks like a sphere: ice cream ball, Pool ball, ball necklace, ... sport or not, made of a hard material.
In general, balls used for sports are made of elastic materials which is why it seems like that is the determining factor in choosing which word to use but that is simply not the case. . For example: Una pelota de playa (a beach ball) which is not used in sports. You would not say: Una bola de playa. You may also run across balón for anything that's a big pellota.
Geography plays a roll as well.
I have always heard either "pelota" or "balón" for sports, never "bola", but as I say, that is in Spain (or rather in my area), so it may be different in other countries.
Then, how would one say crystal ball? or "ball of yarn." Maybe, the practice sentence is not referring to a "pelota por desportes" (I hope I said that right) but rather a ball shaped item.
Crystal ball = Bola de cristal // Ball of yarn = Ovillo (yes, we have a word for "ball of yarn"...).
*"Pelota para deportes", maybe?
I'm going to have to really focus and learn the differences between por and para next.
@Salxandra: You are welcome. It seems to be one of the hardest subjects, but I am sure you will eventually master it. Good luck! :]
I've always learned 'bola' as a vulgar term? Any native speakers with insight?
No, 'bola' it is not vulgar:
Una bola de billar - A ball pool
Está gordo como una bola - He is fat, round as a ball.
¡La bola entró! - That ball was in the line. (When we hear this, we think in John McEnroe at Wimbledon 1981. Etc.
I periodically say exactly the phrase given and state my answer is not correct. Guess I'll just not use the microphone in the future. Frustrating.