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History of Sports

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

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Where do we begin with the history of sports? When the history of sports is as old as humankind. To begin with what has been recorded or documented in the history of sports, takes us back at least 3,000 years. The early history of sports often involved the preparation and training for war or hunting. Hence there were sports games that involved the throwing of spears, stakes, and rocks, and of course lots of play-fighting.

Ancient Greece introduced formal sports, with the first Olympic Games in 776 BC, that included sports such as human and chariot races, wrestling, jumping, disk and javelin throwing, and more.

Baseball

Baseball Glove and Ball - History of Sports
Hal Bergman/Getty Images

Alexander Cartwright (1820-1892) of New York invented the modern baseball field in 1845. Alexander Cartwright and the members of his New York Knickerbocker Base Ball Club, devised the first rules and regulations that were accepted for the modern game of baseball.

Basketball

Basketballs floating in air
Thomas Northcut/Getty Images
The first formal rules were devised in 1892. Initially, players dribbled a soccer ball up and down a court of unspecified dimensions. Points were earned by landing the ball in a peach basket. Iron hoops and a hammock-style basket were introduced in 1893. Another decade passed, however, before the innovation of open-ended nets put an end to the practice of manually retrieving the ball from the basket each time a goal was scored.

Cricket

The cricket bat was invented around 1853, the blade made of willow, and a cane handle layered with strips of rubber, tied with twine and covered with rubber to make a grip.

Football

The Pigskin aka Playing Ball
Derived from the English game of rugby, American football was started in 1879 with rules instituted by Walter Camp, player and coach at Yale University.

Golf

Golf originated from a game played on the coast of Scotland during the 15th century. Golfers would hit a pebble instead of a ball around the sand dunes using a stick or club. After 1750, golf evolved into the sport as we recognize it today. In 1774, Edinburgh golfers wrote the first standardized rules for the game of golf.

Hacky Sack

Hacky Sack or Footbag, as we know it today, is a modern American sport invented in 1972, by John Stalberger and Mike Marshall of Oregon City, Oregon.

Hockey

Ice hockey is played with two opposing teams wearing ice skates. Unless there is a penalty, each team only has six players on the ice rink at a time. The aim of the game is to knock the hockey puck into the opposing team's net. The net is guarded by a special player called the goalie.

Ice Skates

Around the 14th Century, the Dutch started using wooden platform skates with flat iron bottom runners. The skates were attached to the skater's shoes with leather straps. Poles were used to propel the skater. Around 1500, the Dutch added a narrow metal double edged blade, making the poles a thing of the past, as the skater could now push and glide with his feet (called the "Dutch Roll").

Paintball

A milestone in the history of Paintball occurred in 1981 when twelve friends played a version of "Capture the Flag" using the tree-marking guns. The twelve friends decided to buy into a tree-marking gun manufacturer called Nelson and started promoting and selling the guns to the public for use with the new recreational sport.

Skiing

Although the sport of skiing in America is little more than a century old, but researchers have dated a rock carving of a skier, found on the Norwegian island of Rodoy as being over 4,000 years old. Skiing was so revered in Scandinavia that the Vikings worshipped Ull and Skade, the god and goddess of skiing. In the US, skiing was introduced by Norwegian gold miners.

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