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History of Sports

The inventors behind the games and the history of sports equipment.

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Softball

In 1887, George Hancock, a reporter for Chicago Board of Trade, invented softball. He invented the game as a form of indoor baseball on a cold winter day inside the warm Farragut Boat Club.

Swimming

Swimming pools did not became popular until the middle of the 19th century. By 1837, six indoor pools with diving boards were built in London, England. After the modern Olympic Games began in 1896 and swimming races were among the original events, the popularity of swimming pools began to spread

Tennis

Tennis originated from a 12th century French game called paume (meaning palm); it was a court game where the ball was struck with the hand. Paume evolved into jeu de paume and rackets were used. The game spread and evolved in Europe. In 1873, Major Walter Wingfield invented a game called Sphairistikè (Greek for "playing ball) from which modern outdoor tennis evolved.

Volleyball

Volleyball Playing
Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
William Morgan invented volleyball in 1895 at the Holyoke, Massachusetts, YMCA (Young Men's Christian Association) where he served as Director of Physical Education. Morgan originally called his new game of Volleyball, Mintonette. The name Volleyball came about after a demonstration game of the sport, when a spectator commented that the game involved much "volleying" and game was renamed Volleyball.

Water Skiing

water skiing
LOC Cypress Gardens
Water skiing came about on June 28, 1922 when eighteen-year-old Ralph Samuelson of Minnesota, proposed the idea that if you could ski on snow, then you could ski on water.

Wiffle Ball

David N. Mullany of Shelton, Connecticut invented the Wiffle ball fifty years ago. A Wiiffle ball is a variation of a baseball that makes is easy to hit a curveball.

Windsurfing

Windsurfing or boardsailing is a sport that combines sailing and surfing and uses a one-person craft called a sailboard. The basic sailboard is composed of a board and a rig. In 1948, twenty-year old Newman Darby first conceived of using a handheld sail and rig mounted on a universal joint, to control a small catamaran. Darby did not file for a patent for his design, however, he is regonized as the inventor of the first sailboard.

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