From: (Alan Douglas)
Subject: Re: Soccer
Date: Thu, 6 Feb 97 14:28:39 MDT (Alvaro Soto Garcia) wrote:
>[The word "soccer"] comes from an American organization called "football 
>aSOCCiation" or something like that. 

Sort of.  Here's the *real* story:

Soccer was invented in the Southern USA in the late 1700's by
African-American slaves working the cotton plantations.  They would
fill a sock with cotton and kick it around the field trying to score
by hitting it against bails of cotton or other objects at either end
of the field.  They called the game "sock-kicker" which became
"socker" and then "soccer".

Over the years, many slaves were able to escape to freedom in Canada.
They introduced the game to Canadians where it became very popular
among the more liberal-minded university students in Quebec and parts
of Ontario.

Meanwhile in England, there had long been an activity called a "foot
ball", which started out as not so much a sport, but an occasion, and
it did *not* involve a ball.  It was actually a large festive
gathering (that kind of "ball") in which peasants from neighboring
towns would run around the countryside kicking each other and anything
else that got in their way (illustrations of this sometimes show what
appears to be a ball, but this is usually just a rock, cabbage,
severed head or some such thing being kicked about at random).  Not
surprisingly, this brutal pastime became a popular diversion for
students in England in the early 1800's.

In 1814, a group of French-Canadian students from McGill University
embarked on a fateful trip to Eton College in England.  There they
heard the term "foot ball" and challenged the locals to a match,
thinking that it must be similar to their game of soccer.  Imagine
their surprise when the Eton team showed up with no ball!  Being
obliging hosts, the Eton lads agreed to try the Canadian's new game,
and a ball was quickly  improvised.  The locals took to the idea of
kicking a ball instead of each other, and kept the name "foot ball"
which became "football".  The rest was history.

Actually no, it wasn't history... The English academic upper-class
didn't want to admit  that they were playing a game invented by
African slaves and imported by French-Canadians, so they engaged in
some history revisionism to make it seem like the English had played
with a ball all along. The true historical record though can still be
found in the McGill University archives.

Upon returning from England, the McGill students incorporated the more
violent nature of the English "foot ball" into a game which eventually
spread to the USA, evolving into American gridiron football (the ball
was originally carried and thrown to make it easier to kick one's
opponent).  In fact soccer's and football's origins are still
celebrated in an annual event in the Southern US called the Cotton
Bowl.  A large number of African-Americans play a game of football
before a packed stadium, with the winners then going to Disneyland to
symbolize their forefather's escape to freedom in Canada.

If you want more information on this little-know chapter in the
history of soccer, please consult Margaret O’Donnell’s excellent book,
"47 Ways to Stretch Your Food Budget Using Cotton".  Although a
cookbook, it does discuss other innovative historical uses for cotton
in the Appendix.

From: Alan Douglas 
Subject: Re: Baseball?
Date: Thu, 29 Aug 1996 12:10:17 -0700

Richard Thomas wrote:
 > What has Baseball got to do with soccer?

Actually baseball *evolved* from soccer.  

Baseball was invented by the Best Foot Forward Society, a social club of 
Civil War veterans who had all had their left legs amputated.  One day 
they decided to have a go at this new sport soccer (then called football).  

Now they couldn't find a proper ball, and so used a smaller child's ball. 
Many of the players were in wheelchairs and so they were permitted to 
catch and throw and ball instead of kicking, and as they couldn't move 
around very well on the rough playing field, they tended to stay where 
they were and wait for the ball to come them.  

The other players had wooden legs, and they soon found that they could 
"kick" the ball a lot farther and easier if they removed their wooden 
legs and swung them like clubs.  However this put them at a disadvantage 
trying to run after the ball, as they could only use their wooden leg in 
their left hand as a kind of crutch or walking stick.  This would mean 
their right footed stride was longer than their left, and so they tended 
to move in large counter-clockwise circles.

Some bloke named Doubleday was passing by and saw the whole thing, and so 
took the credit for inventing baseball.