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Basketball and other American sports

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cgentes
660251.  Thu Jan 21, 2010 2:13 pm Reply with quote

On episode 8 of series 2 ("Bees"), it was stated that the only sport invented entirely in the United States was basketball, which was invented in Springfield, Massachusetts and was originally played where the baskets were literally baskets without holes in the bottom.
This is true. I know this is true because I grew up in western Massachusetts near Springfield, and in Middle School gym class we had written tests on basketball, and we made frequent field trips to the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield.

On the same episode, they claimed that Volleyball was also invented in Springfield. First of all, if it was invented in Springfield, then basketball can't be the only sport invented in the United States. Second of all, this is false.
Like I said, growing up in western Massachusetts, we had written tests in gym not only on basketball, but on volleyball, which was invented in Holyoke, Massachusetts, which is a city in the Springfield metropolitan area.
The specific claim on the show was that volleyball was invented at Springfield University. It was actually invented by William G. Morgan at the Holyoke YMCA in 1895, four years after James Naismith invented basketball. Upon entering Holyoke, the sign welcoming you proclaims the city as the "Birthplace of Volleyball" (see attached image).


Sorry to be so verbose, but as a native Bay Stater (some would say Masshole) I felt the need to correct this.

 
Moosh
660252.  Thu Jan 21, 2010 2:26 pm Reply with quote

Hmm, just went and looked at the transcript (thanks as ever to MM), and the relevant parts are:

Series 2, Episode 8 wrote:
Stephen
Now, what's the only ball game invented entirely in the USA?

[...]

Jo
Netball?

Stephen
Netball, yes, I could give you netball.

Rich
Basketball.

Stephen
You're right, Rich! Fantastic. Well done. Basketball and netball were invented by the same person.

Viewscreens: Video of a basketball game.

Rich
Doctor James Naismith. University of Kansas.

Stephen
Absoló . . . In fact, he was actually teaching at Springfield, Massachusetts, however.

Rich
Yeah.

Stephen
But you're absolutely . . . you get lots of points for that. And he was, in fact, Canadian.

[...]

Stephen
Yep. If you'd said "lacrosse", of course, that's also . . .

Rich
It's an Indian game.

Stephen
. . . a ball game, but it wasn't the United States of America when that was invented. So, that was . . . but there is basketball, specifically invented . . . and the weird thing about it is, they used an old peach basket . . . for twenty-one years they played the game without . . . putting a hole in the bottom of the peach basket. So, someone had to get a stepladder every time there was a basket and take it out.

[...]

Stephen
Oddly enough, though, volleyball was invented in exactly the same college in Springfield, Massachusetts as netball and basketball.


So, it does look somewhat self-contradictory. The only explanation I can think of is possibly in the wording "invented entirely in the USA", maybe there's some loophole for volleyball?

 
Vacca
660302.  Thu Jan 21, 2010 4:34 pm Reply with quote

Volleyball is said to have been influenced by tennis and handball, so maybe that's why it didn't count as being invented "entirely in the USA"? Basketball was an entirely new game without any influences.

 
suze
660308.  Thu Jan 21, 2010 4:49 pm Reply with quote

To start with netball, I think we can get out of that one.

Netball was devised in New Orleans in 1895 by a woman named Clara Baer. Ms Baer wrote James Naismith and had him send her a copy of the rules for basketball, which she then adapted to devise a game more suitable for young ladies. She never called it netball though, always preferring "women's basketball".

The rules weren't properly codified until 1901, by when the game had become popular in other countries (notably Britain, Australia, and Jamaica), and those countries had some input into that codification. So I reckon it's fair to say that netball is only partially an American invention.

But as cgentes suggests, basketball and volleyball were devised within a few miles of each other in Massachusetts, and the inventors of the two games knew each other. I haven't as yet figured where the wriggle-out clause is ...

Incidentally, James Naismith went on to become a physician and thereafter took little more than a passing interest in basketball. Although a bunch of basketball coaches did pay for him to travel to the Berlin Olympics in 1936 - the first time that basketball featured in the Games - and he was invited to hand out the medals. He was then 74 years old, and was to die three years later.

 
suze
660309.  Thu Jan 21, 2010 4:50 pm Reply with quote

Ooh, I missed Vacca's post before. There we may have our wriggle-out clause ...!

 
gruff5
660462.  Fri Jan 22, 2010 6:45 am Reply with quote

I want to see suze on QI TV programme - her encyclopaedic mind would floor the panel!

I remember watching Harlem Globe Trotters cartoon as a kid and thinking what a boring game to watch - ball goes in basket, then they all run to the other end of the court, ball goes in the other basket, then they all run back again to the other end - round and round. But I thought, this is just a cartoon, the real game must be more interesting.

Then I went to see a game in Milwaukee and it was just like that - back and forth, back and forth. Good fun to play, but I can't understand why anyone wants to watch it.

 
CB27
660524.  Fri Jan 22, 2010 8:16 am Reply with quote

I loved watching the trotters as a kid, they were brilliant fun.

 
AnneB
660536.  Fri Jan 22, 2010 8:23 am Reply with quote

gruff5 wrote:


Then I went to see a game in Milwaukee and it was just like that - back and forth, back and forth. Good fun to play, but I can't understand why anyone wants to watch it.


Rather like many other sports, isn't it? One side tries to score, the other side tries to prevent that. The interesting part is in the strategies used by each side to accomplish the objective--and the fact that those strategies must be decided upon and implemented in a matter of moments, and then carried out by people who, unlike me, don't fall down a lot.

...and it's fun to watch when your kids are playing. Rosalie's team, by the way, won again last night. :-P

 
Moosh
660565.  Fri Jan 22, 2010 9:59 am Reply with quote

I'm with gruff, I went to see a professional basketball game once (Manchester Giants vs someone), and I think scoring almost exactly alternated for the entire time. There didn't seem to be any interception or successful blocking of scoring. Definitely one for the fun to play but dull to watch category.

 
Bondee
660603.  Fri Jan 22, 2010 12:00 pm Reply with quote

CB27 wrote:
I loved watching the trotters as a kid, they were brilliant fun.


Del Boy and Rodney?

 
suze
660612.  Fri Jan 22, 2010 12:23 pm Reply with quote

gruff5 wrote:
I want to see suze on QI TV programme - her encyclopaedic mind would floor the panel!


Why thank you, kind gruff5! I have to make a confession though - while I do know a reasonable number of pieces of information, one of the things I know best is how to find stuff out!

 
CB27
660759.  Fri Jan 22, 2010 5:13 pm Reply with quote

I thouht he meant suze from Countdown :)

 
gruff5
660969.  Sat Jan 23, 2010 11:50 am Reply with quote

Now, this looks more interesting:

 
duglasbell@hotmail.co.uk
1249526.  Sun Sep 17, 2017 10:40 am Reply with quote

When volleyball was first devised, it was known as 'mintonette'.

 

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