Old Basketball

History Of Basketball

Basketball is an American sport with a rich history and background. Unlike most other major sports of today, it was established late and has a rather unusual backstory. On a cold winter day in December, 1981, Dr James Naismith of Springfield was looking for a way to make young athletes better adapted to the harsh cold environment of the winter, through a sport which carried less physical risk of injury than football. Using a soccer ball and some peach baskets, he created a game with 13 of his own rules to be played.

Naismith split his class of 18 pupils into 2 teams, each consisting of 9 players. He sought to teach them the rules of his as yet unnamed game. The goal of the game was simple – get the ball into the peach baskets, which he had placed on the gym wall. Since the basket had a base, someone had to retrieve the ball every time a point was scored using a ladder. He quickly improved the game by carving out the base of the peach basketball. The game quickly grew in popularity and on the eleventh of March, 1892, a public basketball game was held.

Around a year later, the YMCA began spreading Naismith’s game throughout the US and the rest of the world. As early as 1893, the first major public European match was held in Montmartre, Paris. Around the same period, officials were teaching the game in China and Japan, India and Persia.

The second period of major growth in the popularity of basketball occurred as a result of the First World War in 1914, which saw US Military personnel stationed in Europe. Basketball was a favorite among the  American Expeditionary Force, and the popularity of Basketball as a result grew in Europe.

It was not until 1898 that the first pro Basketball league was formed. Named the ‘National Basketball League’, there were six teams in the whole country. The Trenton Nationals became the first team to win, but the following years saw different teams winning each time. In 1904, the league was disbanded, and for the next few years only small, local tournaments were more organized. Bigger leagues started to turn up once again during the 1920s and 1930s, which saw the likes of the American Basketball League and the Metropolitan Basketball Leagues, among others.

While the professional leagues were struggling during this period, College Basketball was booming. This was by far the place which saw the highest levels of basketball popularity beyond the YMCA. The first recorded game between saw Hamline University face Minnesota A&M on February 1895. The game had spread to colleges across the country by 1900 and in 1905 official regulations were being set by the AAU. This laid the foundations for NCAA basketball, which came to be in 1939.

In 1946, the NBA as we know it was founded under the name of the Basketball Association of America. It was renamed the National Basketball Association (NBA) in 1949 following a merger with the NBL. Today, it is the most popular Basketball league in the world and the third most popular sport in the US.

The game has changed immensely from its humble roots of classroom fun. It is now considered one of the most athletic sports of today, requiring fast muscle fibers. Advanced moves and skills such as the ‘slam dunk’ (where a player puts the ball in the net from above the rim) are commonplace in professional leagues. The NBA has the highest average player height of any major league in the world. Developments in sports science are pushing the boundaries of its athletes, with soaring scores on the bleep test and constantly increasing vertical jumps through specialized programs like vert shock.

Internationally, the game is considered America’s most popular exported sport. It is especially popular in parts of Europe like Spain, Italy, France and Germany. It is not uncommon to see players from the top European Leagues join the NBA. More recently the game has become increasingly popular in China, which has seen big name NBA stars like Yao Ming and Jeremy Lin. It is currently one of the Official Olympic Sports.




History of Anchors

The anchor, in one form or another, must be almost as old as the boat: the first boat of any kind (if we except the crude raft) was the tree trunk hollowed out by fire and primitive Tools, and the men who made such boats must soon have hit upon the idea of using a boulder tied to a rope of thongs in order to keep the fast stationary in a moving current. Other early forms of the anchor were skins filled with sand and logs of wood loaded with lead.

Crude anchors of this sort were not very effective. The principle upon which they worked relied upon the weight of the boulder or other heavyweight, and its friction on the bed of the river or sea. No one is certain of the date when the anchor with the hook to dig into the bottom was thought of but it seems certain that it was first seen in the Mediterranean some hundreds of years before the birth of Christ. One classical writer, Pausanias, says that the tooth of the anchor was the invention of Midas, king of Phrygia: another says it was thought of by the Tuscans.

At first, the anchor probably only had one tooth or fluke as it was properly called, but the second fluke was added by the Greeks and iron began to be used for making anchors, in place of the former word or stone. This type of anchor, with its two flukes, its shank with a ring at the end to which the cable is attached, and its stock which is fitted at right angles to the two flukes, has been in use virtually unchanged in form for 2000 years, and many small craft still use anchors of this type.

The point about the stock being fitted at right angles to the flukes is an important one: it ensures that no matter how the anchor falls onto the seabed all river bottom one or other of the flukes will always point downwards to bite into the bottom. Should the anchor for so that the stock touches the bottom first, the anchor will roll over under the tension of the cable or chain until one of the flukes does bite.

As we have seen, small ships still use this type of anchor, although nowadays the stock is usually detachable so that the anchor does not take up so much room on board the vessel. The largest anchors of this pattern that were ever made were the massive wooden ones carried by three decker wooden battleships about 150 years ago. There are still a few of them to be seen at the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich and even now they look most impressive.

So far as anchors for large ships are concerned, the great change came in the middle of the 19th century when the British as rules adopted a new design invented by a Frenchman called Martin. On his anchor, stock was parallel to the flukes but the flukes themselves were hinged together so that they normally lay close to the shank but, when they caught on the bottom, they opened away from the shank until they lay at an angle of about 30° from it.

This design was most successful and it had a number of important advantages over the classic pattern. It could be made much lighter because it had such good holding power, and when the flukes had dug into the bottom, there was no upper one project upwards with the danger of fouling the bottom of the ship at low tide.

Early in the century, it was realised that the stock of Martin’s anchor was not really necessary since the hinged flukes would still operate quite efficiently if the stock was removed, and so this was done. Today all large ships carry anchors of this stock list type.

A stockless anchor.

A stockless anchor.

There is one other type of anchor which is worth noticing, which is the CQR type. This is used by many small craft instead of the conventional pattern. This anchor does not have flukes at all; instead it is fitted with a blade rather like that of a ploughshare and it is used with a very long cable so that its drag on the seabed or river bottom is almost horizontal.

Most large ships carry about five anchors. There will be one fitted in the hawse holes on either hand in the bows with a third in reverse, probably stowed on deck forward. Besides these bower anchors, there will be a stream anchor which may be lowered from the stern to prevent the ship swinging and the cage anchor which can be used to move the ship short distances in harbour, or at see if the main engines should break down, by winching the ship onto the anchor by means of the anchor engine.

For more detailed information regarding anchors, visit the Wikipedia page.