10 stories of how famous sports originated
Wearing the colours of your team, singing the anthems of your country, cheering on your favorite player, gathering with friends for a screening or simply breaking the monotony of a Sunday to scream at your television screens- sports are a part of our life that are too intrinsic to our lifestyles, not to forget the fact that playing them actually takes a ton of stress out along with weight. So yea, you get it. But have you ever wondered how these sports came to existence? If yes, we are here to answer your doubts with a list of several sports and their stories of origin.
Listening to the word triggers the images of broad shoulders running around, doesn’t it? It is said to have started in 1876, when a 16-year old boy picked up a ball while playing soccer and started running with it. This was William Webb Ellis, but the story can’t hold true as according to records, Ellis died in 1872, four years before he was credited with inventing rugby. The real story is that the game grew out of the Rugby School in Warwickshire, England and it was promoted by the school’s headmaster Thomas Arnold, in a similar fashion. Someone, unrecognised, did pick up the ball during soccer, does giving rise to this new game and as the game grew out of the school, it finally resulted in the formation of the International Rugby Football Board in 1884.
9) Ice Hockey
This beautiful game is the maple and coffee of Canada as they love it and are best at it. But they weren’t the ones to invent it as a book published in 2014 states that hockey was invented in England. We say so as there are mentions of hockey in England going far back to 1790s, and beyond that, it is unclear who created the game till now, so shouldn’t they get the credit for it? Notable people who played Hockey include King Edward VII and Charles Darwin. The etymology of the game is such because in the early games, a cork bung was used as a puck. Bungs were most commonly used as a stopper in beer casks and a popular drink at the time was hock ale. Some credit still should be given to Canada as the first organized public game was played in Montreal on March 3, 1875 with just a history of small casual games before that.
Baseball is the game that is so poised yet so dynamic that it keeps you on your toes and the most popular legend of the start of baseball is it was invented by an American Civil War hero, Abner Doubleday, in Cooperstown, New York, 1839. Let’s break the myths then, as Doubleday would have still been at West Point during that time. So the most believable origins story is that this game originated from two games from England. The first is a game called rounders that was a children’s game that came to New England with the colonists, and the second is cricket. Many of the early games were not well documented, first, because they were generally peasant games. However, David Block, in Baseball Before We Knew It, reports that the original source has “stoolball” for “baseball”. Later on, the foundation for Baseball started with the formation of New York Knickerbocker Baseball Club in NYC, 1845. Alexander Joy Cartwright, one of the most influential members, came up with many of the rules like diamond shaped infield, foul lines, and the three strike rule, laying the foundation of the game. He removed a rule too- that players were allowed to throw the ball at a runner to get them out (sad, it would make the game even more interesting, won’t it?).
The game was well known in ancient times in many places- in Greece, a less developed form was played; in Japan, the related game Hanetsuki was played in the 16th century. In the west, it was evolved from a game called battledore and shuttlecock, in which two or more players keep a feathered shuttlecock in the air with small racquets. In India, The game was called “Poona” during the 18th century, and British Army officers took the Indian version back to England in the 1860s, where it was played as an upper class amusement. Modern Badminton launched in 1873 at the Badminton House, Gloucestershire, owned by the Duke of Beaufort. The sport was played in England under the rules that prevailed in India till 1887, when official rules were drawn and these rules were officially published in 1893, by the Badminton Association of England. It was started in house called “Dunbar” at 6 Waverley Grove, Portsmouth, England on September 13, which later on gave way to the All England Open Badminton Championships, the first badminton competition in the world, in 1899. The International Badminton Federation (IBF) (now known as Badminton World Federation) was established in 1934, and now, the BWF governs international badminton.
The popular game with the most glamorous players (“Go, Serena!” and “Hi, Nadal.”), is believed to be started pretty early as ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans all played some form of tennis. But the modern tennis started its journey around 1000 A.D. when it was played by French monks in a monastery. They would play with their hands and a wooded ball, like volleyball with a net that was usually just a rope that stretched across a courtyard. This also gave the game its name, as the monks would yell ‘tenez’, which is French for ‘to take’, while they served the ball. Over the next two centuries, the game gained popularity throughout Europe and by the 13th century there were 1,800 indoor courts. By 1500, wooden frame racquets that were laced with sheep guts became common, as did balls made from cork, yet it differed the tennis we play today as it didn’t take the surface until 1873 when the rules were first published. In 1877, the first tennis tournament was held at Wimbledon, where they decided on the court shape and size and adopted tennis’ method of scoring.
This game might be a bit of a mystery to many people in the western hemisphere but it is highly beloved in many countries as it is the second most popular sport in the world. It is believed that this game was a game of the colonists as it started in the 13th century in rural England, where it was played by shepherds, and later on by many Lords and Sers who went on to play it in England as well as their many colonies at that time. Originally, the wicket gate of the sheep paddock was used as a target and then a ball of rags or wool was pitched at the target. An opposing player would use a shepherd’s crooked staff to prevent the ball from hitting the target. The first recorded modern cricket match was played in 1697 in Sussex for a prize of 50 guineas. Eight years later, the first inter-county match happened between Kent and Surrey. Rules were probably already established at this point, but the oldest known written rules for the game are dated 1744.
The origins of golf are the most debated among the origins of other games. The Scots take total credit for it and they should, as the modern foundation of the game started in the mid-15th century in the very country and involved swinging a club at a ball and moving it from one location to another using the least amount of strokes possible. But there’s a conflicting evidence that states that the roots of the game sprouted in the small town of Loenen aan de Vecht in the Netherlands in 1297, the very year that started an annual tradition of playing a game called “colf” which involved of two teams of four players who took turns hitting a wooden ball with a wooden stick towards several consecutive targets. The game did first appear in written form in the Scottish literature in 1636. So we will just say that the origins are unsure but at least the Scots are in the clear sunlight of knowledge as they boast that they themselves introduced it.
You must have been shocked to know that the Canadians didn’t invent hockey but more shock is yet to rock your system as the Canadians are credited with inventing this beloved American game of Basketball. Dr. James Naismith of Almonte, Ontario was a training instructor at the International YMCA Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts. He was supposed to find an activity for the boys who had to stay indoors because of the cold winters. To end their misery, Naismith developed basketball based on a game he played as a child called Duck on a Rock. And thus, two peach baskets were hung high up at each end of the gym and a soccer ball was used. The first game was played on December 21, 1891, and the final score was 1-0. Nasmith’s amazing efforts found success in front of his eyes as there the game grew in popularity got adopted into the Olympics in 1936 in Berlin. One of the best origins stories indeed!
2) American Football
The first game that would later on get the love of America as the American Football happened on November 6, 1869, between players from Princeton and Rutgers. But it resembled more of soccer game than football and later on Yale developed their own sport that was called “The Boston Game.” Despite of being like soccer, it had one exception: if a player was being pursued by an opponent, he could pick up the oval ball and run with it or throw or pass it and without any pursuers he had to kick it with his feet. Later on they played the version of McGill University from Montreal, which was more like rugby, on May 14 and 15, 1874, along with their Boston Game. This made the Yale people adopt the McGill version as they liked it more and thus, the foundation for another American game was developed by a Canadian university. Yale’s football Captain from 1876 to 1881, Walter Camp, made several changes in the rules like 11-men-per-side, the quarterback position, the line of scrimmage, offensive signal calling and football’s unique scoring system. Why it is called soccer in North America is because it is a British term which was coined due to the sport’s former name, Association Football, for short, Assocc, and the British add “er” to almost every word. The irony of the situation is that later on the British started to adopt the word football because soccer had become too American “too American.” Cultural exchanges on the best level indeed.
The most popular sport of today, Soccer, is an innate part of the human psych as we chant for it, we bow for it, we cry, we laugh, we sing for it. Its origins are very colourful as they can be dated all the way back to 2,500 B.C. in Ancient Egypt, where people kicked a ball around during the feast of the fertility. Yep, fertility. It was played in China too, from 476 B.C. to 221 B.C., where people played a sport called cuju, which roughly translates to “kick the ball with foot.” Rome shares a part in Soccer’s history as a similar game, with 27 players on each team trying to get the ball in the other team’s goal, was played in ancient times. And well, people were injured and killed while playing it (we told you there was colour). Games similar to soccer continued to be played all the way through the Middle Ages and the contemporary age of soccer started in 1863, and a final separation between rugby football and soccer happened when the Football Association in England was formed. This governing body gave more rules and regulations, giving birth to modern day soccer.
You saw how the games emerged, mostly branching out as a new form of an existing game and it makes you wonder if you can too make out some games out of the existing for the future and die in peace thinking you gave a little kid a break from everyday humdrums of life into the world of sports! Food for thought, ain’t it?