August 19, 2014

Thank you James Naismith for early Saturday mornings

by Murray Dewhurst in Auckland, New Zealand

 A Canadian bloke called James Naismith invented basketball in 1891. Something to do with providing an "athletic distraction" for wintertime sportsmen in Springfield, Massachusetts.

He sent a copy of his basketball rules to a sports teacher in New Orleans who in turn sent an interpretation of those rules to a school in England.

Somehow by the time basketball was first played in England a year or so later it had only a passing resemblance to Naismith's rules.

Somehow it had turned into a passing game - no dribblers thank you very much! (Naismith's rules at this stage allowed for 'ball rolling' only). Basketball was played outside, in all weather (today an exception is made for lightning storms) and played almost exclusively by women.

The sport of basketball initially spread through the British Empire and is now played worldwide by over 20 million people according to Wikipedia. Naismith had inadvertently created what is today called Netball.

The first international netball match was played in 1938 when a New Zealand team toured Australia – helping to fuel a sports rivalry that continues to this day and inspiring thousands of Kiwi kids to drag their parents out of bed early on cold, wet winter mornings for the netball run.


Maike Bohlen said...

Great! The sketches look so lively and spontanous. I like the composition of the pages, too, and the sketch where you can only see the body of the girl with the other two behind. You captured the exact feeling of snapshots. And you told the story of basketball, thanks. Though this sport is not particular famous in germany many houses have a basket, only sometimes i wonder what will happen if anybody really tries to play. Not everyone seems to have thought that it is a play where people are to move around each other and not only hiiting the basket.

memi said...

As a frustrated long-time NY Knicks fan, I loved reading your post, Murray and especially appreciated the story in all of your drawings!

Marcia Milner-Brage said...

Your drawings are so FUN & SPUNKY! I loved your story about the evolution of basketball in New Zealand.