Humble Beginnings: Stories Behind Today’s Great Sports
All sports have long and varied histories. Today let us explore the backgrounds of some of the most popular pastimes in the United States today.
The game of golf has been around for centuries. The earliest reports put it in Scotland during the 13th century, where participants attempted to hit a leather ball with a stick into a hole several yards away. The winner was the one who sunk the ball into the pocket with the fewest hits, or “strokes.” The game naturally evolved to include multiple holes and obstacles like sandy hills and bodies of water. Golf was so popular in Scotland that King James II banned it during wartimes since many soldiers opted to play golf instead of partaking in military training. Thanks to the Prince of Wales travels, golf became popular among royalty of other countries and their subjects, including colonists in America. Early American golf clubs really gained traction during the economic boom of the 1920s.
The myth that Civil War veteran, Abner Doubleday invented baseball before he went off to fight for the North was popularized by early baseball managers to invoke a sense of patriotism and grandeur into the budding sport. The truth is that baseball dates back before even the American Revolution. A hybrid of popular English games like rounders and cricket, both of which involved hitting a ball with a wooden stick, it was played by colonists both young and old. Even this primitive form was a danger to exterior windows, as an early 18th century law prohibited its play near government buildings. It was not until Alexander Cartwright instituted original rules into the game in 1845, however, that baseball as we know it today was born. When baseball went pro in the early 20th century there was a lull, but that soon ended when greats like Babe Ruth entered the diamond, leading to the beginning of Baseball’s “Golden Era.”
There’s your history lesson for today. Have any interesting trivia of your own? Share in the comments!
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