sports history

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Mexico revives 3,000-year-old ancient ball game - BBC News
A championship is being played in Mexico to try to revive a 3,000-year-old ball game.

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The finals of a revived 3,000-year-old ball game have been played in the Mexican city of Teotihuacan

Organisers have been trying to bring back the game, known as Ullamaliztli in Mexico, because of its ancient cultural and religious significance.

The game was played across Central America before being banned by the Spanish conquistadors.

The tournament, only the second since 2006, is being played by ten teams from across Mexico.

According to ancient texts the ball game was seen as a struggle between light and darkness and provided the energy to keep humanity going.

One of the best preserved ball courts can be found - with stone rings to throw the ball through - in Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula

Today the game is played by teams of seven players, who knock a heavy solid rubber ball up and down a narrow pitch, using their hips rather than their feet.

Giant ball courts can still be seen in ruins across the region.

In ancient times losers of the game were often sacrificed to the Gods*, but this year organisers opted for a knockout tournament instead.


* There is iconography and mythology related to the ballgame that involve sacrifice, but there is little evidence that people were sacrificed for having played this game.

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Kathrine Switzer, first woman to officially run the Boston Marathon, is racing it this year

  • Women haven’t exactly crossed the finish line when it comes to gender equality, but we’ve certainly come a long way since Kathrine Switzer first hit the pavement at the Boston Marathon.
  • It was 1967 when Switzer, then a 20-year-old journalism student at Syracuse University, became the first woman to officially enter the historic marathon.
  • At the time, women were woefully marginalized in the world of athletics. 
  • According to CNN, Switzer had been training with the men’s cross-country team at Syracuse when she decided to enter the race, with little encouragement from her coach. 
  • In her memoir, Switzer recalled the Syracuse coach telling her the 26-mile marathon was too long for a “fragile woman.”
  • During the marathon in ‘67, race director Jock Semple chased Switzer down and ripped her bib off of her.
  • Now, after running 39 marathons, 70-year-old Switzer will run in this year’s Boston Marathon — wearing the same bib number an angry man tried to rip from her 50 years ago. Read more (4/17/17 11:26 AM)

Celebrate Jackie Robinson Day! (April 15)

Portrait of shortstop Jackie Robinson running bases. Exhibits (W462) series. Printed on front: “Jackie Robinson. Made in U.S.A.”

  • Courtesy of the Ernie Harwell Sports Collection, Detroit Public Library

Adolf Hitler planned to use the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin 1936 Jesse Owens arrived in Berlin to compete for the United States in the Summer Olympics. Adolf Hitler was using the games to show the world a resurgent Nazi Germany. Nazi propaganda promoted concepts of “Aryan racial superiority” and depicted ethnic Africans as inferior. American Owens countered this by winning four gold medals.

In the 2006 World Cup match between Portugal and The Netherlands, there were 16 yellow cards and 4 red cards in the 90 minute game. The referees averaged a card approximately every 5 ½ minutes! The game holds the record for cards shown at any FIFA-administered international tournament. The dirtiest World Cup match barely finished 1-0, and is known as the “Battle of Nuremburg.”

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LaMelo Ball scores 92 points in high school basketball game

  • 16-year-old LaMelo Ball from Chino Hills, California dropped a cool 92 points in Chino Hills High School’s game against Los Osos High (Rancho Cucamonga, California) on Tuesday night, joining Beyoncé’s pregnancy announcement in the Black History Month 2017 Hall of Fame (note: not an official hall of fame).
  • LaMelo — who scored all but 54 of his team’s 146 points — comes from a basketball family. His older brother, LiAngelo Ball, is a senior at Chino Hills High, and their oldest brother, Lonzo Ball, plays at the collegiate level for UCLA. Read more and watch the highlights

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Portrait of boxer Muhammad Ali. Label on back: “Radio! Radio! Radio! Clay vs. Quarry. Cassius Clay meets Jerry Quarry in a 15-rounder in Atlanta, Ga., to be heard live over the CBC radio network Oct. 26 at 10:15 p.m. EST. CBC Information Services, Box 500, Terminal A, Toronto 1. CBC Picture Service. Program: Clay-Quarry fight. Personality: Cassius Clay. Air date: Monday, Oct. 26/70 (10:15 p.m.) on the CBC Radio Network.”

  • Courtesy of the Ernie Harwell Sports Collection, Detroit Public Library
What NFL Team's Name Has A Unique Origin?

The Baltimore Ravens football team! It is the only team in the history of the National Football League to be named after the title of a poem: “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe. While Poe was not from Baltimore, he lived there for short periods. And in 1849 he died there while visiting the city. (The last place he was seen alive, a bar, is still open today!)

On this day in history, April 18, 1936 – The first Champions Day is celebrated in Detroit, Michigan.

Champions Day is a special day that was set aside in 1936 to commemorate a number of sporting victories and accomplishments by Detroit, Michigan natives and teams in the early 1930s, and especially the 1935–36 sports season. This season was called “…the most amazing sweep of sport achievements ever credited to any single city” by the Windsor Daily Star. This sports season featured, among other things, the rise of Joe Louis in the professional boxing world, the Detroit Tigers winning their first World Series, the Detroit Lions winning their first NFL championship, and the Detroit Red Wings winning their first NHL championship. (Wikipedia)

Cover of 1935 World Series program book. Printed on front: “World’s Series, official souvenir program, price 25 cents, Detroit Tigers vs. Chicago Cubs, 1935, Navin Field, Detroit” with photograph of tiger and baseball players. Printed on front: “Photo by Kuenzel.”

  • Courtesy of the Ernie Harwell Sports Collection, Detroit Public Library