Top 10 ORIGIN STORIES of Famous SPORTS
Lacrosse is North America’s oldest team
sport and originated with the Eastern Woodlands
Native Americans and some Plains Indians tribes.
The game was played by warriors of the tribe
to keep them fit and strong.
Many of the rules were different from modern
Notably, the field of play could be 0.6 miles
Besides just ensuring that the warriors stay
in shape, the game was also important to their
It helped strengthen diplomatic alliances,
supported social conformity, and they used
it to honor the gods.
In the 1840s, Europeans became interested
in the game.
The first recorded match between Europeans
and members of the Mohawk tribe happened in
In 1856, the Montreal Lacrosse Club was formed
in Quebec, Canada.
When the Prince of Wales visited Montreal
in August 1860, lacrosse’s popularity grew
A month after the Prince’s visit, a dentist
named William George Beers wrote the first
official rules and instructions for the game
and replaced the deerskin ball with a rubber
Since then, the game has grown in popularity
and there are currently two professional lacrosse
leagues operating in North America.
The origins of golf are highly debated.
The Scots take total credit for it, and they
are kind of right.
The modern foundation of the game started
in the mid-15th century in Scotland.
Those rules included swinging a club at a
ball and moving it from point A to point B
using the least amount of strokes possible.
However, there is evidence that the roots
of the game sprouted in the small town of
Loenen aan de Vecht in the Netherlands when
it was played there in 1297.
That year was the start of an annual tradition,
where, on Boxing Day, the townspeople played
a game named “colf.”
The game consisted of two teams of four players
who took turns hitting a wooden ball with
a wooden stick towards several consecutive
Besides the mention of colf in 1297, there
is other evidence of golf-like games being
played throughout the Netherlands centuries
before the game of golf first appeared in
Scottish literature in 1636.
However, as we mentioned, this is highly debatable
and many Scottish people don’t believe it
to be true.
Canadians are generally considered polite
and modest people.
However, one thing that many Canadians are
gleefully boastful about is their ice hockey
According to them, it’s their game.
They are the best at it, and they invented
However, according to a book that was published
in 2014, hockey was probably invented in England.
There are references to the game all the way
back to as early the 1790s, and beyond that,
it is unclear who created the game.
What is known is that the game was popular
in England for centuries.
Notable people who played included King Edward
VII and Charles Darwin.
As for why it’s called hockey, the theory
is that in the early games, a cork bung was
used as a puck.
Bungs were most commonly used as a stopper
in beer casks and a popular drink at the time
was hock ale.
Why Canada is often associated with hockey
is that the first organized public game was
played in Montreal on March 3, 1875.
Before that, games were just played casually.
About 40 people attended the the first game,
which is a few more than the Arizona Coyotes
Rugby supposedly got its start in 1876 when
16-year-old William Webb Ellis was playing
soccer at the Rugby School in Warwickshire,
England, and he picked up the ball and ran
Unfortunately, the story can’t be true because
Ellis died in 1872, four years before he was
credited with inventing rugby.
The real story is that the game did grow out
of the Rugby School and it was promoted by
the school’s headmaster Thomas Arnold.
The rules were first written in 1845 and it’s
believed that the game grew out of soccer,
but it’s unclear who was the first person
to pick up the ball and run with it.
After boys attended the school and learned
the game, they wanted to continue to play
This is how the first intercounty games were
organized, leading to the first clubs, which
resulted in the formation of the International
Rugby Football Board in 1884.
To many people in North America, cricket is
a bit of a mystery and seems quite complicated.
However, it’s beloved in many other countries
around the world and watched by billions of
In fact, it is the second most popular sport
in the world.
Cricket is believed to have gotten its start
in the 13th century in rural England, where
it was played by shepherds.
The wicket gate of the sheep paddock was used
as a target and then a ball of rags or wool
was pitched at the target.
An opposing player would use a shepherd’s
crooked staff to prevent the ball from hitting
The game was popular regionally and continued
to be played throughout the centuries.
The first recorded 11-to-a-side match was
played in 1697 in Sussex for a prize of 50
Eight years later, the first intercounty match
happened between Kent and Surrey.
Rules were probably already established at
this point, but the oldest known written rules
for the game are dated 1744.
It’s believed that the ancient Egyptians,
Greeks, and Romans all played some form of
However, the linage of modern tennis starts
around 1000 A.D. when it was played by French
monks in a monastery.
They would play with their hands and a wooded
ball, so it was more like volleyball.
The net was usually just a rope that stretched
across a courtyard.
This is also where tennis got its name.
While playing, the monks would yell ‘tenez’,
which is French for ‘to take’, while they
served the ball.
Over the next two centuries, the game gained
popularity throughout Europe and by the 13th
century there were 1,800 indoor courts.
By 1500, wooden frame racquets that were laced
with sheep guts became common, as did balls
made from cork.
However, the game was much different than
it is today.
According to The History Channel:
Games took place in narrow, indoor courts,
where the ball was played off walls with roved
galleries and a number of openings.
Players won points by hitting the ball into
netted windows beneath the roves, with the
net being five feet high on the ends and three
feet in the middle, which created a pronounced
Modern tennis didn’t really start to emerge
until 1873 when the rules were first published.
In 1877, the first tennis tournament was held
at Wimbledon, where they decided on the court
shape and size and adopted tennis’ method
We bet it wasn’t really a surprise that
Canadians claimed to be the inventors of hockey.
However, did you know that a Canadian actually
invented one of America’s most beloved sports,
Dr. James Naismith of Almonte, Ontario was
born in 1861, and after years of working as
a lumberjack, he got his degree in physical
education from McGill University in Montreal.
After graduating, he moved to the United States,
where he got a job at the International YMCA
Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts.
There, he was tasked with finding a suitable
activity for a group of “incorrigibles.”
The winters were cold in New England and the
boys had to stay inside and quickly became
bored with all the indoor games of the day.
Naismith developed basketball based on a game
he played as a child called Duck on a Rock.
Naismith had the school’s janitor hang up
two peach baskets high up at each end of the
gym and a soccer ball was used.
The first game was played on December 21,
1891, and the final score was 1-0.
So, both teams were slightly better than the
Eventually, the peach baskets had holes cut
in the bottom because the janitor got sick
of climbing up a ladder to retrieve the ball.
From there the game grew in popularity and
Naismith was alive to see it adopted into
the Olympics in 1936 in Berlin.
Naismith, who was the first coach of the Kansas
Jayhawks basketball team, also saw the birth
of NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship.
He passed away on November 28, 1939.
The most common legend of the start of baseball
is it was invented in Cooperstown, New York,
during the summer of 1839 by Abner Doubleday.
After inventing the game, Doubleday went on
to become a hero in the American Civil War.
The only problem is that none of that is true.
In 1839, Doubleday would have still been at
Baseball probably descended from two games
The first is a game called rounders that was
a children’s game that came to New England
with the colonists, and the second is cricket.
The foundation of modern baseball started
in 1845 when a group of men in New York formed
the New York Knickerbocker Baseball Club.
The most influential member of the club was
a bank clerk named Alexander Joy Cartwright
who came up with many of the rules that are
the foundation of baseball.
This included a diamond shaped infield, foul
lines, and the three strike rule.
Another rule that he removed, which certainly
would make baseball a lot more exciting today,
is that he got rid of the rule that players
were allowed to throw the ball at a runner
to get them out.
The first game that would eventually become
American Football, or gridiron football, happened
on November 6, 1869, between players from
Princeton and Rutgers.
However, that was more of a soccer game.
After that game, Yale developed their own
sport that was called “The Boston Game.”
It was like soccer, but if a player was being
pursued by an opponent, he could pick up the
oval ball and run with it, or throw or pass
If he wasn’t being pursued, he had to kick
it with his feet.
Then on May 14 and 15, 1874, Yale hosted McGill
University from Montreal and they also had
their own set of rules for football.
On the first day, they played the Boston Game.
On the second day, they played McGill’s
version of football, which had more of a rugby
element to it.
It had 11 men per side, used an oval ball,
and a player could pick it up and run with
it at any time.
After the games, the Yale team decided they
liked McGill’s version better and adopted
Yes, you read that right.
The foundation for American football was developed
by a Canadian university.
Yale’s football Captain from 1876 to 1881
was Walter Camp.
He was responsible for the Intercollegiate
Football Association adopting two important
He got rid of the opening scrum and introduced
the rule where the team had to give up the
ball if they didn’t move it a certain amount
of yards after a specific number of downs.
Camp was also responsible for many other innovations
that makes football what is today.
This includes 11-men-per-side, the quarterback
position, the line of scrimmage, offensive
signal calling and football’s unique scoring
One thing that you may be wondering is, why
is association football called soccer in North
Well, it may be surprising to know that it
is a British term.
It was what they called the sport for nearly
Essentially, the sport is formally called
Association Football, or for short, Assocc
and at the time, it was common for people
at English schools added “-er” to the
end of words.
Then, Assoccer gradually morphed into soccer.
British people used soccer interchangeably
all the way into Post-World War II.
North Americans always called it soccer to
differentiate between it and gridiron football.
After World War II, America had a cultural
explosion, and the British started to adopt
the word football because soccer had become
too American “too American.”
Soccer is the most popular sport in the world
today, and it could be because it’s an innate
part of the human experience.
Games similar to soccer can be dated all the
way back to 2,500 B.C. in Ancient Egypt, where
people kicked a ball around during the feast
of the fertility.
In China, from 476 B.C. to 221 B.C., people
played a sport called cuju, which roughly
translates to “kick the ball with foot.”
The point of the game was to kick a leather
ball stuffed with feathers through a cloth
hung between two posts.
They could use any part of their body, except
for their hands.
Soldiers used to play it in order to keep
A similar game was played in Ancient Rome
There were 27 players on each team and they
only had to get the ball in the other team’s
Because this was Ancient Rome, people were
injured and killed while playing it, which
sounds way more exciting than watching modern
Games similar to soccer continued to be played
all the way through the middle ages and the
contemporary age of soccer started in 1863.
That’s when rugby football and soccer splintered
off and the Football Association in England
This governing body gave more rules and regulations,
giving birth to modern day soccer.