the study of the kicking components within sports

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Old School Kicking, part 2

In part 1 we toured ancient cultures and civilizations around the world over a span of several thousand years, looking at the first known games that included kicking. While kicking continued to be global over the next millenium, our focus below is on the British Isles and North America, where several games evolved - all of which were/are called football by many.

1100 Of the various medieval ball games that developed in the areas that would eventually become Great Britain, the especially violent Mob Football was the most popular. It was typically played between neighboring villages, with each team’s town square essentially serving as the goal. Each team/mob tried to force the ball into the opponent’s village center.

1314 King Edward II of England issued the first ban of football. Several subsequent kings also tried to ban it. The game was considered to be unchristian and it distracted people from the traditional sports of fencing and archery.

1527 The first documented reference to Celtic football (Caid) was found in the Statute of Galway, which allowed the playing of football and archery but banned hurling and handball. The field version of Caid, as opposed to the cross country version, involved kicking a ball through a goal formed by two tree boughs. Caid may have derived from the Welsh game of Knappan, which may have descended from the Viking game of Knattleikr.

1600 Native North Americans played a kicking-game / mock-battle called Pasuckuakohowog, which translates as "they gather to play ball with the foot." The game often included hundreds of participants, playing on a mile long field or beach with goals at each end.

1823 Legend has it that William Webb Ellis, a student at the Rugby School in England, illegally picked up a ball during a football/soccer game and ran with it, inadvertently leading to the development of the game which would be named after the school. They also added goalpost with a cross bar, with scoring coming by kicking the ball over the crossbar. Around the same time period, the six other major public schools in England were starting to standardize the rules of their game (soccer).

1846 Dr. Thomas Arnold, the head of Rugby School, made the first truly standardized rugby rules.

1855 Charles Goodyear patented the first manufactured inflatable balls, made of vulcanized rubber.

1860 Yale banned football in 1860 and Harvard did so the following year. The game at the time resembled the violent Mob Football from England.

1862 The Oneida Football Club was formed in Boston. The played a combined version of earlier Colonial and American game formats that included both kicking and carrying. The games were dubbed the "Boston Game".

1863 Eleven London football clubs/schools met at the Freemason's Tavern, forming The Football Association and began the first official standardization of soccer rules.

1867 In the late 1860’s football returned to college campuses. Yale, Princeton, Rutgers, and Brown played a kicking-based game akin to soccer, while Harvard played the “Boston Game” and Canadian schools played a running-based game all more akin to rugby.

1869 Princeton played at Rutgers in what is considered to be the first intercollegiate football/soccer game. At this time, virtually every school still had its own variations and rules. A home team’s rules were typically used for a game.

1871 The Rugby Football Union in England was formed to standardize rugby rules and remove some of the violence from the game.

1875 Harvard and Yale played for the first time. At this time Harvard was the lone American school using rugby-like rules, however as other schools played against or watched Harvard, they too began to shift away from the soccer-like rules.

1876 Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Columbia met to establish standardized rules. The results were very similar to the Rugby Football Union rules from England, except for the primary difference of the kicked goal was replaced with the touchdown.

1883 Points were added to the game of football, with field goals valued at five points, touchdowns at two points, and conversions after touchdowns at four points.

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