March 19, 2009

A Canadian invented basketball???

Basketball is on our minds. We’re ready for some March Madness. Each year we look forward to Marge Madness – an online recreational basketball pool created by Paul’s brother Dan and his wife Margie in 2000. There’s always a timely theme ranging from Survivor, Lord of the Rings, American Idol and more – all with a basketball twist. This year the theme is Slumdunk Millionaire. Participants submit fun photos with their picks and this year we added a Canadian theme with these photos – all enhanced with Danielle’s knowledge of Photoshop she has learned at school. Dan and their dog Walter Peyton Pisani have continued Marge Madness since Margie passed away in October 2007. It’s the best tribute ever to Margie – after all -- she would want us all to have Marge/March Madness parties, play along and have FUN. Of course, we’re cheering for Marquette (Dan, Margie and Paul's other brother Jim are also MU grads).  Our Blackhawks flag out front will be replaced with the MU flag for Friday’s game. We’re bringing a little Marge Madness to Montreal in the coming weeks – starting today!

Back to the basketball trivia….this spring Louis did a project at school where he had to research a Canadian inventor. He found out that the inventor of basketball was actually a Canadian! James Naismith, a Canadian physical education instructor, invented basketball in 1891. He was born in Almonte, Ontario and educated at McGill University and Presbyterian College in Montreal. He was the physical education teacher at McGill University (1887 to 1890) and at Springfield College in Springfield, Massachusetts (1890 to 1895). At Springfield College (which was then the Y.M.C.A. training school), James Naismith, under the direction of American phys-ed specialist Luther Halsey Gulick, invented the indoor sport of basketball.

In Springfield, Naismith was faced with the problem of finding a sport that was suitable for play inside during the Massachusetts winter (something we can relate to) for the students at the School for Christian Workers. Naismith wanted to create a game of skill for the students instead of one that relied solely on strength. He needed a game that could be played indoors in a relatively small space. The first game was played with a soccer ball and two peach baskets used as goals. Naismith joined the University of Kansas faculty in 1898, teaching physical education and being a chaplain.

First College Basketball Game
The first ever college basketball game was played on January 18, 1896, when the University of Iowa invited student athletes from the new University of Chicago for an experimental game. Final score: Chicago 15, Iowa 12, a bit different from the hundred-point scores of today. In 1963, college games were first broadcast on national TV, but it wasn't until the 1980s that sports fans ranked basketball up there with football and baseball. 

We're ready for some Marge/March Madness in Montreal!

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