The Origins Of Sports


Some sports date back thousands of years, others merely decades.

Updated a month ago

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James Naismith Memorial Statue

Springfield, United States • Wishlist • a month ago

James Naismith was a Canadian Physical Education instructor working at the Springfield YMCA in Massachusetts in 1891. Struggling to find an indoor sport which would keep his rowdy charges occupied during the long Massachusetts winter, he came up with the idea of nailing two peach baskets to the end of the gym, which the students would have to lob a ball into. He called his new game "Basket Ball". The YMCA later became Springfield College and you can find a statue of Naismith on campua today. Naismith lived to see basketball introduced to the Olympics in 1936 where he presented gold to the US and silver to his home country of Canada.

263 Alden Street, Springfield, Massachusetts, USA

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Greater Holyoke YMCA

Springfield, United States • Memory • a month ago

Just 10 miles from Springfield and 4 years later, William Morgan invented a new game called Mintonette, first played at the Greater Holyoke YMCA. Players would return a ball over a net without it touching the ground. Watching one of the first games William Halstead suggested a new name due to the number of volleys peformed, and so volleyball was born.


171 Pine St, Holyoke, MA 01040, USA

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Rugby School

Coventry, United Kingdom • Wishlist • a month ago

Some versions of football have been played for thousands of years. The first rules were codified in England in the nineteeth century after being played at various public schools. The "Eton rules" allowed for kicking with feet only while the "Rugby rules" allowed picking up the ball with your hands. When thee Football Association was formed in 1863 it was decided to disallow running with the ball. Clubs who disagreed with this started to call their version of the game Rugby. The story that William Webb Ellis, a student of Rugby School, picked up the ball during a soccer game and ran with it is sadly apocryphal (though he did end up with the Right World Cup trophy named after him!)

Rugby CV22 5DY, UK

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Jabalpur, India • Wishlist • a month ago

The British Army Officer's Mess in Jubbulpore, India seems an unlikely place for the origin of a sport, but it was here in 1891 that Colonel Sir Neville Francis Fitzgerald Chamberlain invented a new cue sport where players had to pot red and colored balls. After a young cadet missed a shot, Chamberlain called him " a real snooker", which was military slang for a first year cadet. Today Jubbulpore is known as Jabalpur and is one of the major cities of Madhya Pradesh, known for the known for the Dhuandhar Falls (pictured)

Madhya Pradesh, India

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Sumo Shrine

Kashihara-shi, Japan • Wishlist • a month ago

The origins of Sumo wrestling are shrouded in mystery, with it being difficult to tell legend and history apart. Sakurai in Nara province claims to the location of the first sumo bout, and have erected a shrine to the ancient sport.


Anashi, Sakurai, Nara 633-0071, Japan

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Birthplace of Baseball Monument

New York City, United States • Wishlist • a month ago

Baseball has various antecedents, including the English game of rounders, and various bat and ball sports resembling baseball were being played around North America by the 1830s. In New York City, the Knickerbocker Club formed a set up rules, and the first ever recorded baseball game took place between the Knickerbockers and the "New York Nine" on the Elysian Fields in Hoboken, New Jersey. Sadly despite having come up with the rules, the Knickerbockers were defeated by 23-1 in four innings. While Elysian Fields has since been redeveloped for housing, you can find a monument on the the intersection of 11th and Washington Street celebrating the origins of "America's National Pastime", with "bases" on each corner of the intersection.


11th St, Hoboken, NJ 07030, USA

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Ailsa Craig

Glasgow, United Kingdom • Wishlist • a month ago

In the 16th century in Scotland, when lochs (lakes) and ponds froze over in winter, people would entertain themselves by sliding stones across the ice. Thus began the game of curling, probably the only Winter Olympic sport which "ordinary" people think they might actually have a chance at! All stones used in the sport today are mined from the special granite available in only one place, the tiny Scottish island of Ailsa Craig.

Scotland, United Kingdom

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Badminton House

Bath, United Kingdom • Wishlist • a month ago

Sports historians are clear that badminton gets its name from the Duke of Beaufort's Badminton House in Gloucestershire, England. Exactly WHY this is the case is rather more murky. An earlier game was known as Battledore and Shuttlecock, and weit’s possible a new variant was first played on the lawns on Badminton House. Weddings are often held here, and the estate also featured in the movies The Remains of the Day, 28 Days Later and Pearl Harbor.

Badminton, United Kingdom

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Mission Bay

San Diego, United States • Wishlist • a month ago

"The First Annual Mission Bay Triathlon, a race consisting of segments of running, bicycle riding, and swimming, will start at the causeway to Fiesta Island at 5:45 P.M. September 25. The event will consist of 6 miles of running (longest continuous stretch, 2.8 miles), 5 miles of bicycle riding (all at once), and 500 yards of swimming (longest continuous stretch, 250 yards). Approximately 2 miles of running will be barefoot on grass and sand. Each paricipant must bring his own bicycle." So read the ad for the first ever triathlon organisrr by the San Diego Track club in Mission Bay in 1971. Mission Bay The bay is part of Mission Bay Park, the largest man-made aquatic park in the USA.

San Diego, CA 92109, USA

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Outrigger Canoe Club Beach

Honolulu, United States • Wishlist • a month ago

In 1915 members of this ocean club in Hawaii were bored as the sure was flat that day. The head coach George "Dad" Center brought in a volleyball net and string it up on the beach. Before long it was the most popular game player at the club. Thanks to Hawaiian weather, you can still play each volleyball 365 days a year at the OCC.

Outrigger Canoe Club Beach, Honolulu, HI 96815, USA

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