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Author Topic: A question of Sport  (Read 10575 times)
Stormcat
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« on: November 26, 2013, 12:58:01 am »

Staying physically fit has been on the human mind since ancient times, but what about victorian times? What are some uniquely victorian sports we could make steampunk?
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« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2013, 12:59:20 am »

nope, not this again. Not after the spring-loaded croquet incident.
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« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2013, 01:05:30 am »

nope, not this again. Not after the spring-loaded croquet incident.

But My corset is getting awfully tight and my Doctor says my Hysteria will improve with some exercise, but I'm not sure where to start.
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« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2013, 01:08:20 am »

Boxing. In armour.
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« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2013, 01:33:38 am »

Someone's going to mention it, so it might as well be me:

Bartitsu is, in my opinion, quite possibly the most quintessentially Victorian sport ever to exist.
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« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2013, 01:55:52 am »

I agree w Von Corax.  Bartitsu wins.  But amongst combat sports, at least, there's a good list:

Bare-knuckle boxing
Catch-as-you-can wrestling
Jujitsu
Thang Ta or Kalaripayattu
Archery
Fencing
La Canne
Savate
Capoeira Angola
Kung Fu
Marksmanship

Others would include hunting, fox-hunting comes to mind specifically, cricket, croquet, rugby, baseball, hurley, horseback riding and racing, physical culture (not quite a sport, but Victorian era exercise), strongman feats (same), bicycle racing, roller skating, rowing and canoeing, lawn tennis, American football (1890's), football/soccer. 
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« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2013, 02:00:37 am »

I agree w Von Corax.  Bartitsu wins.  But amongst combat sports, at least, there's a good list:

Bare-knuckle boxing
Catch-as-you-can wrestling
Jujitsu
Thang Ta or Kalaripayattu
Archery
Fencing
La Canne
Savate
Capoeira Angola
Kung Fu
Marksmanship

Others would include hunting, fox-hunting comes to mind specifically, cricket, croquet, rugby, baseball, hurley, horseback riding and racing, physical culture (not quite a sport, but Victorian era exercise), strongman feats (same), bicycle racing, roller skating, rowing and canoeing, lawn tennis, American football (1890's), football/soccer. 

I'm unfamiliar with the terms in bold. Care to elaborate on them?
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« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2013, 02:45:03 am »

Let's see...

Catch-can wrestling, as I understand it, is simply the minimal-rules version - pin-to-win, no holds barred, &c. &c.

I don't know Thang Ta, but the names sound Thai and Cambodian; I assume it's the local form of judo/kung fu/tae kwan do/whatever.

La canne ("the cane") was I think one of Mr. Barton-Wright's sources of inspiration.

I believe Savate and Capoeira are West African -> Carribean/Central American/South American fighting arts notable for having been disguised as dance/gymnastic forms to hide them from the slave-masters.

I think hurley refers to a sort of Gaelic field hockey which is one of the forerunners of modern ice hockey.

"Physical culture" simply refers to the Victorian equivalent of the "gym rat" (think men in striped leotards and handlebar moustaches throwing medicine balls and swinging kettle-bells and weighted bowling pins) and "strongman feats" is merely the same gentlemen showing off.
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« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2013, 06:28:00 am »

Capoeira is Brazilian, and involves a lot of inverted techniques, as the slaves' legs would be chained but their hands would not, they learned to have more mobility while performing a handstand

A hurley is the stick used in hurling, which I imagine is what the intended sport was. As von Corax mentioned it's a sort of hockey.
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« Reply #9 on: November 26, 2013, 03:14:37 pm »

Indian clubs were very popular with Victorian and Edwardian 'keep fit' enthusiasts.

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« Reply #10 on: November 26, 2013, 03:58:05 pm »

Ah, the Indian clubs! That's what I was looking for.
Road bicycling, in the late 1800s. Very Steampunkable, I think.
Horseback riding. On the Steampunk war horse. (google or youtube for more info on the war horse)

And, any Victorian sport should have some kind of backward, two steps forward, tea time break, unexplainable rules.  Grin
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« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2013, 12:53:32 am »

Thang-Ta means "Sword Spear" and is from the Manipur province of India.  Armed combat, ritualistic, acrobatic.
Kalaripayattu is also an Indian martial Art; it involves wrestling, striking, and indigenous weapons.
I included these two for their potential availability to Victorian era British servicemen and such.

Savate is a French style of kickboxing developed by sailors and adapted to the street.
La Canne is French cane fighting.  The sport version is La Canne de Combat.

Capoeira is Brazilian, often called Afro-Brazilian, as it was developed by West African slaves (primarily from Angola) in Brazil.  Indeed it is combative techniques disguised as dance.  Arguably the Grandfather of Breakdancing.  Much of this has already been mentioned, including the inverted techniques.  Capoeira would be one of the MOST exotic and least available to a Victorian era westerner, but still within the realms of possibility.  The style referred to as Capoeira Angola (as opposed to Capoeira Regional, for instance) is the only style of Capoeira (known) that would have existed prior to the 30's.

Catch-as-catch can has been explained, as has Physical Culture.

Strongman feats, a la Eugen Sandow et al., often performed by folk of the Physical Culture ilk, are 'performance' exercises such as bending iron bars, twisting horseshoes into heart shapes, rolling frying pans into tubes, etc.

And yes, I meant Hurling, the Irish field hockey with wooden machete-looking things.  

I'm fairly certain all of these are youtube-able, if anyone wished to follow up...

Smiley
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« Reply #12 on: November 27, 2013, 01:02:48 am »

Singlestick, Mr. Holmes preferred exercise. Dumbbells and medicine balls to go with your Indian Clubs. Calisthenics.
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« Reply #13 on: November 27, 2013, 01:17:07 am »

Dumbbells, Kettle Bells, Medicine Balls, Indian Clubs, Calisthenics, body-weight exercises, grip-strength training, even primitive pulley-based weight systems and even elementary tumbling ('hand-balancing' comes to mind, that is handstands, double- or single-armed) would all probably be grouped together in the Physical Culture category...I forget what the type of exercise is called, but there was a good amount of work involving holding a sledgehammer or heavy axe in one hand and either holding it at the bottom of the handle straight out with arm extended for as long as possible or doing rotational exercises to strengthen forearms and wrists.
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« Reply #14 on: November 27, 2013, 02:10:16 am »

Dumbbells, Kettle Bells, Medicine Balls, Indian Clubs, Calisthenics, body-weight exercises, grip-strength training, even primitive pulley-based weight systems and even elementary tumbling ('hand-balancing' comes to mind, that is handstands, double- or single-armed) would all probably be grouped together in the Physical Culture category...I forget what the type of exercise is called, but there was a good amount of work involving holding a sledgehammer or heavy axe in one hand and either holding it at the bottom of the handle straight out with arm extended for as long as possible or doing rotational exercises to strengthen forearms and wrists.


these are all lovely, but what I'm looking for is a proper sport. One with rules and possibly even teams.
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« Reply #15 on: November 27, 2013, 06:27:36 am »

Tug of war!
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« Reply #16 on: November 27, 2013, 06:41:42 am »

Wasn't Football (Soccer for Americans) standardised in the 19th. C?  While football rules were developed as far back as the 17th. C, it was during the 19th. C that English public schools began to invent different rule standards for the sport as only children had enough free time to engage regularly in sports.

Wiki: Football

Quote
English public schools

While football continued to be played in various forms throughout Britain, its "public" schools (known as private schools in other countries) are widely credited with four key achievements in the creation of modern football codes. First of all, the evidence suggests that they were important in taking football away from its "mob" form and turning it into an organised team sport. Second, many early descriptions of football and references to it were recorded by people who had studied at these schools. Third, it was teachers, students and former students from these schools who first codified football games, to enable matches to be played between schools. Finally, it was at English public schools that the division between "kicking" and "running" (or "carrying") games first became clear.
The earliest evidence that games resembling football were being played at English public schools — mainly attended by boys from the upper, upper-middle and professional classes — comes from the Vulgaria by William Herman in 1519. Herman had been headmaster at Eton and Winchester colleges and his Latin textbook includes a translation exercise with the phrase "We wyll playe with a ball full of wynde".[41]
Richard Mulcaster, a student at Eton College in the early 16th century and later headmaster at other English schools, has been described as "the greatest sixteenth Century advocate of football".[42] Among his contributions are the earliest evidence of organised team football. Mulcaster's writings refer to teams ("sides" and "parties"), positions ("standings"), a referee ("judge over the parties") and a coach "(trayning maister)". Mulcaster's "footeball" had evolved from the disordered and violent forms of traditional football:
some smaller number with such overlooking, sorted into sides and standings, not meeting with their bodies so boisterously to trie their strength: nor shouldring or shuffing one an other so barbarously ... may use footeball for as much good to the body, by the chiefe use of the legges.[43]
In 1633, David Wedderburn, a teacher from Aberdeen, mentioned elements of modern football games in a short Latin textbook called Vocabula. Wedderburn refers to what has been translated into modern English as "keeping goal" and makes an allusion to passing the ball ("strike it here"). There is a reference to "get hold of the ball", suggesting that some handling was allowed. It is clear that the tackles allowed included the charging and holding of opposing players ("drive that man back").[citation needed]
A more detailed description of football is given in Francis Willughby's Book of Games, written in about 1660.[44] Willughby, who had studied at Bishop Vesey's Grammar School, Sutton Coldfield, is the first to describe goals and a distinct playing field: "a close that has a gate at either end. The gates are called Goals." His book includes a diagram illustrating a football field. He also mentions tactics ("leaving some of their best players to guard the goal"); scoring ("they that can strike the ball through their opponents' goal first win") and the way teams were selected ("the players being equally divided according to their strength and nimbleness"). He is the first to describe a "law" of football: "they must not strike [an opponent's leg] higher than the ball".[citation needed]
English public schools were the first to codify football games. In particular, they devised the first offside rules, during the late 18th century.[45] In the earliest manifestations of these rules, players were "off their side" if they simply stood between the ball and the goal which was their objective. Players were not allowed to pass the ball forward, either by foot or by hand. They could only dribble with their feet, or advance the ball in a scrum or similar formation. However, offside laws began to diverge and develop differently at each school, as is shown by the rules of football from Winchester, Rugby, Harrow and Cheltenham, during between 1810 and 1850.[45] The first known codes — in the sense of a set of rules — were those of Eton in 1815 [46] and Aldenham in 1825.[46])
During the early 19th century, most working class people in Britain had to work six days a week, often for over twelve hours a day. They had neither the time nor the inclination to engage in sport for recreation and, at the time, many children were part of the labour force. Feast day football played on the streets was in decline. Public school boys, who enjoyed some freedom from work, became the inventors of organised football games with formal codes of rules.
Football was adopted by a number of public schools as a way of encouraging competitiveness and keeping youths fit. Each school drafted its own rules, which varied widely between different schools and were changed over time with each new intake of pupils. Two schools of thought developed regarding rules. Some schools favoured a game in which the ball could be carried (as at Rugby, Marlborough and Cheltenham), while others preferred a game where kicking and dribbling the ball was promoted (as at Eton, Harrow, Westminster and Charterhouse). The division into these two camps was partly the result of circumstances in which the games were played. For example, Charterhouse and Westminster at the time had restricted playing areas; the boys were confined to playing their ball game within the school cloisters, making it difficult for them to adopt rough and tumble running games.

And the first football clubs organised exclusively around football appeared also in the 19th. C

Quote
Sports clubs dedicated to playing football began in the 18th century, for example London's Gymnastic Society which was founded in the mid-18th century and ceased playing matches in 1796.[49][50]
The first documented club to bear in the title a reference to being a 'football club' were called "The Foot-Ball Club" who were located in Edinburgh, Scotland, during the period 1824–41.[51][52] The club forbade tripping but allowed pushing and holding and the picking up of the ball.[52]
Two clubs which claim to be the world's oldest existing football club, in the sense of a club which is not part of a school or university, are strongholds of rugby football: the Barnes Club, said to have been founded in 1839, and Guy's Hospital Football Club, in 1843. Neither date nor the variety of football played is well documented, but such claims nevertheless allude to the popularity of rugby before other modern codes emerged.
In 1845, three boys at Rugby school were tasked with codifying the rules then being used at the school. These were the first set of written rules (or code) for any form of football.[53] This further assisted the spread of the Rugby game. For instance, Dublin University Football Club—founded at Trinity College, Dublin in 1854 and later famous as a bastion of the Rugby School game—is the world's oldest documented football club in any code.
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« Reply #17 on: November 27, 2013, 11:06:07 am »

Most of the football teams in the current FA Premiership and many more in the lower divisions were originally formed in the late 19th c.
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« Reply #18 on: November 27, 2013, 10:22:15 pm »

[...] what I'm looking for is a proper sport. One with rules and possibly even teams.

Has cricket been mentioned? According to TSOATAK, it was "the national sport" by the mid 1700s, and the first international match was in 1844 (between Canada and USA.)
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« Reply #19 on: November 28, 2013, 07:45:29 pm »

American Baseball and a primitive version of American football as well. 

The first Olympics was revived in Edwardian time, I think. 
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« Reply #20 on: November 29, 2013, 01:43:41 am »

American Baseball and a primitive version of American football as well. 

The first Olympics was revived in Edwardian time, I think. 

How does the "Primitive" version differ from the modern version?
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« Reply #21 on: November 29, 2013, 01:51:16 am »

American Baseball and a primitive version of American football as well. 

The first Olympics was revived in Edwardian time, I think. 

How does the "Primitive" version differ from the modern version?

Leather helmets, minimal padding, and far fewer life-threatening injuries?
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« Reply #22 on: November 29, 2013, 04:56:22 am »

American Baseball and a primitive version of American football as well.  

The first Olympics was revived in Edwardian time, I think.  


Why indeed!  It's origins go back to 14th C Europe, but baseball, as we know it,  emerged in the 19th. C in the United States, with all the rules in place by 1893.

"Take Me Out to the Ballgame" a "Tin Pan Alley" baseball anthem by Jack Norworth and Albert Von Tilzer,  1908:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:MeekerBallGame.ogg

Baseball is quite the "Gilded Age" Sport if we don't call it Victorian proper:

Wiki, Baseball:

Quote
The evolution of baseball from older bat-and-ball games is difficult to trace with precision. A French manuscript from 1344 contains an illustration of clerics playing a game, possibly la soule, with similarities to baseball.[1] Other old French games such as thèque, la balle au bâton, and la balle empoisonnée also appear to be related.[2] Consensus once held that today's baseball is a North American development from the older game rounders, popular in Great Britain and Ireland. Baseball Before We Knew It: A Search for the Roots of the Game (2005), by David Block, suggests that the game originated in England; recently uncovered historical evidence supports this position. Block argues that rounders and early baseball were actually regional variants of each other, and that the game's most direct antecedents are the English games of stoolball and "tut-ball".[3] It has long been believed that cricket also descended from such games, though evidence uncovered in early 2009 suggests that the sport may have been imported to England from Flanders.[4]
The earliest known reference to baseball is in a 1744 British publication, A Little Pretty Pocket-Book, by John Newbery. It contains a rhymed description of "base-ball" and a woodcut that shows a field set-up somewhat similar to the modern game—though in a triangular rather than diamond configuration, and with posts instead of ground-level bases.[5] David Block discovered that the first recorded game of "Bass-Ball" took place in 1749 in Surrey, and featured the Prince of Wales as a player.[6] William Bray, an English lawyer, recorded a game of baseball on Easter Monday 1755 in Guildford, Surrey.[7] This early form of the game was apparently brought to North America by English immigrants. Rounders was also brought to the continent by both British and Irish immigrants. The first known American reference to baseball appears in a 1791 Pittsfield, Massachusetts, town bylaw prohibiting the playing of the game near the town's new meeting house.[8] By 1796, a version of the game was well-known enough to earn a mention in a German scholar's book on popular pastimes. As described by Johann Gutsmuths, "englische Base-ball" involved a contest between two teams, in which "the batter has three attempts to hit the ball while at the home plate." Only one out was required to retire a side.[9]


Alexander Cartwright, father of modern baseball
By the early 1830s, there were reports of a variety of uncodified bat-and-ball games recognizable as early forms of baseball being played around North America. These games were often referred to locally as "town ball", though other names such as "round-ball" and "base-ball" were also used.[10] Among the earliest examples to receive a detailed description—albeit five decades after the fact, in a letter from an attendee to Sporting Life magazine—took place in Beachville, Ontario, in 1838. There were many similarities to modern baseball, and some crucial differences: five bases (or byes); first bye just 18 feet (5.5 m) from the home bye; batter out if a hit ball was caught after the first bounce.[11] The once widely accepted story that Abner Doubleday invented baseball in Cooperstown, New York, in 1839 has been conclusively debunked by sports historians.[12]
In 1845, Alexander Cartwright, a member of New York City's Knickerbockers club, led the codification of the so-called Knickerbocker Rules.[13] The practice, common to bat-and-ball games of the day, of "soaking" or "plugging"—effecting a putout by hitting a runner with a thrown ball—was barred. The rules thus facilitated the use of a smaller, harder ball than had been common. Several other rules also brought the Knickerbockers' game close to the modern one, though a ball caught on the first bounce was, again, an out and only underhand pitching was allowed.[14] While there are reports that the New York Knickerbockers played games in 1845, the contest now recognized as the first officially recorded baseball game in U.S. history took place on June 19, 1846, in Hoboken, New Jersey: the "New York Nine" defeated the Knickerbockers, 23–1, in four innings.[15] With the Knickerbocker code as the basis, the rules of modern baseball continued to evolve over the next half-century.[16]
History of baseball in the United States
Main article: History of baseball in the United States
The game turns professional
In the mid-1850s, a baseball craze hit the New York metropolitan area.[17] By 1856, local journals were referring to baseball as the "national pastime" or "national game".[18] A year later, sixteen area clubs formed the sport's first governing body, the National Association of Base Ball Players. In 1858 in Corona, Queens New York, at the Fashion Race Course, the first games of baseball to charge admission took place. The games, which took place between the all stars of Brooklyn, including players from the Brooklyn Atlantics, Excelsior of Brooklyn, Putnams and Eckford of Brooklyn, and the All Stars of New York (Manhattan), including players from the New York Knickerbockers, Gothams (predecessors of the San Francisco Giants), Eagles and Empire, are commonly believed to be the first all-star baseball games.[19][20][21] In 1863, the organization disallowed putouts made by catching a fair ball on the first bounce. Four years later, it barred participation by African Americans.[22] The game's commercial potential was developing: in 1869 the first fully professional baseball club, the Cincinnati Red Stockings, was formed and went undefeated against a schedule of semipro and amateur teams.[23] The first professional league, the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players, lasted from 1871 to 1875; scholars dispute its status as a major league.[24]
The more formally structured National League was founded in 1876. As the oldest surviving major league, the National League is sometimes referred to as the "senior circuit".[25] Several other major leagues formed and failed. In 1884, African American Moses Walker (and, briefly, his brother Welday) played in one of these, the American Association.[26] An injury ended Walker's major league career, and by the early 1890s, a gentlemen's agreement in the form of the baseball color line effectively barred black players from the white-owned professional leagues, major and minor.[27] Professional Negro leagues formed, but quickly folded. Several independent African American teams succeeded as barnstormers.[28] Also in 1884, overhand pitching was legalized.[29] In 1887, softball, under the name of indoor baseball or indoor-outdoor, was invented as a winter version of the parent game.[30] Virtually all of the modern baseball rules were in place by 1893; the last major change—counting foul balls as strikes—was instituted in 1901.[29] The National League's first successful counterpart, the American League, which evolved from the minor Western League, was established that year.[31] The two leagues, each with eight teams, were rivals that fought for the best players, often disregarding each other's contracts and engaging in bitter legal disputes.[32]


The New York Giants baseball team, 1913. Fred Merkle, sixth in line, committed a baserunning gaffe in a crucial 1908 game that became famous as Merkle's Boner.
A modicum of peace was eventually established, leading to the National Agreement of 1903. The pact formalized relations both between the two major leagues and between them and the National Association of Professional Base Ball Leagues, representing most of the country's minor professional leagues.[33] The World Series, pitting the two major league champions against each other, was inaugurated that fall, albeit without express major league sanction: The Boston Americans of the American League defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates of the National League.[34] The next year, the series was not held, as the National League champion New York Giants, under manager John McGraw, refused to recognize the major league status of the American League and its champion.[35] In 1905, the Giants were National League champions again and team management relented, leading to the establishment of the World Series as the major leagues' annual championship event.[36]
As professional baseball became increasingly profitable, players frequently raised grievances against owners over issues of control and equitable income distribution. During the major leagues' early decades, players on various teams occasionally attempted strikes, which routinely failed when their jobs were sufficiently threatened. In general, the strict rules of baseball contracts and the reserve clause, which bound players to their teams even when their contracts had ended, tended to keep the players in check.[37] Motivated by dislike for particularly stingy owner Charles Comiskey and gamblers' payoffs, real and promised, members of the Chicago White Sox conspired to throw the 1919 World Series. The Black Sox Scandal led to the formation of a new National Commission of baseball that drew the two major leagues closer together.[38] The first major league baseball commissioner, Kenesaw Mountain Landis, was elected in 1920. That year also saw the founding of the Negro National League; the first significant Negro league, it would operate until 1931. For part of the 1920s, it was joined by the Eastern Colored League.[39]


The 1875  St Louis NA  Brownstockings Club


The 1876 St. Louis NL Club


1869 Cincinnatti Red Stockings


1908 Cincinnatti Red Stockings


http://Chicago Cubs vs. New York Giants at National League Park (West Side Park/Grounds) - Aug. 30, 1908

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« Reply #23 on: November 29, 2013, 07:41:10 pm »



these are all lovely, but what I'm looking for is a proper sport. One with rules and possibly even teams.

Smiley Like I said in my first post, we have baseball, rugby, football/soccer, American football, bicycle racing, horse racing, lawn tennis, cricket, and hurling, at least.  Probably add some version of bocce ball, nine-pins and perhaps other forms of bowling.

I assume these constitute 'proper sports'? Smiley

I suppose even today some folks don't consider the Sweet Science particularly 'proper'. Tongue
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« Reply #24 on: November 29, 2013, 08:01:44 pm »



these are all lovely, but what I'm looking for is a proper sport. One with rules and possibly even teams.

Smiley Like I said in my first post, we have baseball, rugby, football/soccer, American football, bicycle racing, horse racing, lawn tennis, cricket, and hurling, at least.  Probably add some version of bocce ball, nine-pins and perhaps other forms of bowling.

I assume these constitute 'proper sports'? Smiley

I suppose even today some folks don't consider the Sweet Science particularly 'proper'. Tongue

I think I remember hearing about shooting sports. Care to elaborate?
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