34 For two weeks Naismith pondered the challenge and experimented with indoor

34 for two weeks naismith pondered the challenge and

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go outdoors for football or baseball. 34 For two weeks, Naismith pondered the challenge and experimented with indoor versions of soccer and lacrosse, which led to too many bruises and bloodied heads. Then one day he recalled a game he had played as a child called “duck on a rock,” which had emphasized tossing a rock at a target. The next day, he nailed two peach baskets to serve as targets precisely 10 feet above the floor at each end of the gym. When his students arrived for their class, their instructor was bouncing a soccer ball. He proceeded to explain to them 13 basic rules for the new game. Within minutes their happy shouts had echoed down the hall and a crowd of curious students and faculty had assembled to watch the action. With 18 men maneuvering around the small floor, it became evident that finesse, good passing, skilled marksmanship, and sound physical conditioning were essential qualities for this new game. 35 Unlike football and baseball, the origins of which can be traced back several centuries, Naismith's new game had no historical precedent. The popularity of basketball spread across the United States with amazing rapidity through the YMCA network. College women embraced the game with the same enthusiasm as men . Emphasis on agility and skill rather than on pure physical strength made basketball an ideal indoor winter game for modern America. Social workers encouraged the game as a means of socializing immigrant children, and it became the dominant sport of many new ethnic groups in cities, but it also appealed equally to youngsters in small towns and rural areas. Soon basketball hoops were being nailed above barn and garage doors across the land so that youngsters could hone their skills outside of formal team practices. As one enthusiast wrote in 1902, “In playing it comes the joy of a quickened pulse and fast-working lungs, the health-giving exercise to all our muscles, the forgetting of all troubles. There is no game which requires more wind or endurance nor which needs greater agility and deftness.” Naismith never benefited financially from his invention. He left Springfield in 1895 to attend medical school in Denver, and upon graduation took a position as the first professor of health and physical education at Kansas University, where he remained until his death in 1939. He seldom played the game himself, although he was the first basketball coach at KU. Ironically, with a nine-year record of 55–60, the inventor of the game of basketball compiled the only career losing record in the school's history. True to his convictions, Dr Naismith was much more interested in teaching health and exercise science to undergraduate students and in encouraging participation in the intramural program than in promoting the game he invented.
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