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Chapter VII - The Spread of the Game in the United States

SEVERAL years ago, as I was returning from a summer trip in Colorado, I came by the way of the so-called world’s highest bridge, spanning the Royal Gorge a few miles above Canyon City, Colo. At the south end of the bridge we came upon the deserted camp of the men who had built the structure. There was little to tell of the number of men and boys who had spent many months playing and working on this spot. At one end of the former camp, however, there were two basketball backstops. The goals had been removed, and they stood alone against the dark pines, a mute reminder of the activity that had once been a part of the camp life.

I am sure that no man can derive more pleasure from money or power than I do from seeing a pair of basketball goals in some out of the way place— deep in the Wisconsin woods an old barrel hoop nailed to a tree, or a weather-beaten shed on the Mexican border with a rusty iron hoop nailed to one end. These sights are constant reminders that I have in some measure accomplished the objective that I set up years ago.

Thousands of times, especially in the last few years, I have been asked whether I ever got anything out of basketball. To answer this question, I can only smile. It would be impossible for me to explain my feelings to the great mass of people who ask this question, as my pay has not been in dollars but in the satisfaction of giving something to the world that is a benefit to masses of people.

Grantland Rice once estimated that there were fifteen million people playing basketball. This number to me is inconceivable, but I do not believe that it is exaggerated. The number of boys and girls who are playing the game in our educational institutions alone will run into the millions, and these institutions are only one group of the many that are playing the game.

The spread of basketball has been both extensive and rapid. The game was introduced into the foreign countries soon after its origin, and it spread here in the United States so rapidly that I have been unable to determine accurately just when many parts of the country took up the game. There





is little doubt but that there are more people playing basketball in the United States than in all the foreign countries.

The Y. M.C.A.

As the game originated in the Y.M.C.A. Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts, it was only natural that much of the early spread should come through that institution. The Y.M.C.A. was one of the few organizations interested in physical development, and the fact that most of the branches had gymnasiums was an important factor in the spread of the game through this institution.

There were two ways in which the Y.M.C.A. spread the game. The Triangle, the school paper, printed a description of the game and the rules in January, 1892. This paper went to the branches of the Y.M.C.A. all over the country; and as these branches were looking desperately for some activity that would interest their members, they quickly accepted the game. It was only a short time after the publication of the paper containing the rules that I received requests for details about the game. These letters came from widely scattered points, but practically all of them were from Y.M.C.A. branches. One of the first letters that I received was from George W. Ehler, of the Central Branch of the Brooklyn Y.M.C.A. In his letter of April, 1892, Mr. Ehler said that he had introduced basketball into the Brooklyn branch and that the members there were more enthusiastic about the game than one could imagine. Just how many other New York branches were playing is not known, but Mr. Ehler stated that the Brooklyn team had scheduled several games with other Y.M.C.A.’s.

While the Y.M.C.A.’s were quite generally adopting the game, there were some branches which were having trouble with it, especially in certain sections in the East. The physical directors of that time were judged by the number of members that they had in their classes. Basketball would allow only ten men on a floor that would normally accommodate fifty or sixty. This monopoly of the floor by a few caused some of the physical directors to question the value of the game, as they felt that development work for a large group was more important than a recreative game in which only a few men could participate.

Another problem that presented itself was the fact that many directors lacked experience in handling competitive sports. This lack of experience was responsible for some roughness and unsportsmanlike conduct on the part of many teams.

Philadelphia was one of the cities in which basketball became so popular that it threatened to disrupt the formal gymnastic classes that were carried on in the Association. So many teams were organized and the game was so popular that if teams were allowed to use the gymnasium, there would be little time for other work. To meet this condition, the North Branch of the Y.M.C.A. in that city refused to allow a basketball on the gymnasium floor.

On March 27, 1897, Doctor Chadwick, of the Philadelphia Y.M.C.A., published an article in which he requested that the game be dropped by the Association because of its monopoly of the floor and its evil effect on the Association’s reputation and influence. As a result of this restriction on the game in the Philadelphia branches, many members withdrew and formed independent teams. These teams played among themselves, using any kind of gymnasium that could be found. Games were held in warehouses and even in dance halls supplied with goals.

These independent teams soon found that the spectators crowded the floor; and to meet this condition, the teams constructed cages that would prevent the ball from going out of bounds. The playing of basketball under these conditions was responsible for the start of the professional game; and as far as I am able to determine, Philadelphia had the first team of this type.

In spite of the fact that only a few of the Y.M.C.A. branches were having difficulty with basketball, it was decided that a study should be made to determine the attitude of the organization toward the game. M. T. J. Browne, selected to carry out this study, sent a questionnaire to some hundred of the different branches. When he compiled the results of these questionnaires, he found that a majority of the institutions felt that basketball had not only helped to hold the older members but had also increased the membership, and that it had created a greater loyalty toward the Association.

With the realization that basketball was a great help, the Y.M.C.A. turned its efforts to teaching thousands of boys all over the country to play the game. With the construction of other gymnasiums and the enlarging of their own buildings, the Association has provided ample space. Although many teams were playing in other gymnasiums, the Y.M.C.A. still managed much of the organization of leagues and tournaments. Today thousands of boys’ teams all over the country are using the Association equipment and are playing and practicing in the buildings, often without any charge.

The students of the Training School also spread the game. They represented many different parts of the country, and as these men finished their courses and scattered to their respective homes or fields of work, they took the game with them. Since the school was international, not only the United States but also several of the foreign countries received the game from men who were either classmates or students of mine. France and Japan were both represented in the class of 1893. When Theis returned to Paris, he took with him the first knowledge of the new game. I have been unable to determine whether Ishakawa introduced the game into the orient when he left the University of Wisconsin and returned to his native country, but certainly he was interested, as he furnished the first sketch of a basketball game, which was printed in the 1893 guide.

Basketball owes a great deal to the Y.M.C.A., because it was first to recognize the necessity for a winter sport, it furnished the facilities and the opportunity to originate the game, and it was a means of spreading the game over the entire world, as its foreign introduction came largely through the branches of the Association in the various countries.

The A.A.U. and the Athletic Clubs

Soon after the Y.M.C.A. had accepted basketball, the athletic clubs began to take up the game. Many of these clubs were formed for the purpose of playing basketball, whereas others that were of old standing organized teams. The athletic clubs of that time were primarily for the development of sports and were interested in the promotion of athletic teams rather than social activities.

In 1897, there were fifty-eight athletic clubs that had organized basketball teams, and these teams were competing with teams from all types of institutions. Today there are a great many clubs represented at the National Basketball Tournament, and, with few exceptions, these teams are well up in the running. It has always been interesting to me to note the number of former college players listed on the various athletic club teams. Many of the members of the clubs are unable to give the time for practice during the day, and this difficulty has been largely overcome by obtaining players who have been thoroughly drilled in the fundamentals. It is not uncommon to see a whole team composed of former college players, men who need little training and who in two or three evenings a week can organize and polish their play.

I am sure that the opportunity for these young men to continue their activity after leaving college is of immense value, and much credit must be given the athletic clubs for furnishing this opportunity.

For many years the Kansas City Athletic Club sponsored a team, and several times won the National Tournament. Subsequently the Olympic Club, which came from California to compete, rated among the best in the tournament. Other clubs from both coasts were represented. It is always a pleasure to meet these men, as, without exception, I have always noticed that the highest type of sportsmanship is exhibited by the teams from the clubs.


To the colleges all over the country, basketball owes much. There has been no other institution that has so advanced the technique and skill of the game. In return for this advancement, basketball has given to the colleges a winter sport that is recognized the world over, which is not only selfsupporting but also important in the college intramural programs.

When basketball was originated, the colleges were comparatively slow to adopt the game. Some schools played very early, but it was not until about 1900 that they recognized the game as an important part of the college sports program. One of the reasons that the colleges did not play basketball earlier was that the coaches and physical directors were not familiar with the new sport. The colleges did not really accept the game until the boys who had learned basketball in the Y.M.C.A. and high schools enrolled with them. Many of the college physical directors think that the colleges introduced basketball into the high schools, but in reality the high schools introduced basketball into many of the colleges.

Geneva College, in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, and the University of Iowa both played basketball in the season of 1892. Which of these two colleges may claim the first game, I do not know. Mr. C. O. Beamis, a Springfield boy, had gone to Geneva College as physical director. Beamis had seen the game played in the Training School gymnasium while he was home on a vacation. He realized that it might solve the need of a winter activity in his school. I told him of the success we had and explained to him the fundamentals of the game. On his return to Beaver Falls he started the game in Geneva College; it is my belief, therefore, that this college was the first to play basketball. Iowa might have played as early as Geneva. In 1890, H. F. Kallenberg was an instructor at the Springfield school and left to accept a position at Iowa in 1891. When the basketball rides were published, Mr. Kallenberg obtained a set and organized a group of teams. I have corresponded with both schools, but I have not been able to learn just when either school played its first game.

Leland Stanford also played the game soon after its origin, under the direction of W. O. Black. In 1893, Mr. Black graduated from Springfield and accepted a position in the physical education department at Leland Stanford. Black had played basketball while attending school, and soon after his arrival at the California school he organized a team.

During 1894 and 1895, many of the Eastern colleges began to play basketball. They were at first handicapped because they could find so few opponents among colleges that it was hard to schedule games. Many of the early college teams were forced to play Y.M.C.A., high school, and other outside organizations; it was not uncommon to have the college teams of this period soundly trounced by some secondary school team or one that was made up of some group of younger boys.

In the winter of 1893, two teams from Springfield played an exhibition game at a physical directors’ convention in the Yale gymnasium. Pearson S.

Page, the physical director at Andover, reminded me in a letter a few years ago that he had played on one of the Springfield exhibition teams. Many of these directors had never seen a basketball game, and on returning to their respective schools, began to organize teams. Dr. W. H. Anderson, of Yale, who was present at this convention, soon introduced the game into Yale in 1894 and into the Anderson Normal School of Physical - Education (now the New Haven Normal School of Physical Education) . It has been impossible for me to obtain information as to just when the different colleges began to play basketball. I have written many letters in an effort to gather data on this subject, but usually I learn that the physical director during that period has long since left or is no longer living. No one seems to have kept a record of the early games.

Although the growth of basketball in the colleges was comparatively slow, it established itself on a firm basis, and by 1905 it was recognized as a permanent college winter sport. Leagues and conferences had been formed, and coaches and directors were intensely interested in the development of the game.

The general acceptance of basketball by the colleges led them to feel that they were entitled to publish their own set of jrules. They felt that college basketball was on such a high plane that it was unnecessary for them to be governed by the A.A.U. In 1905, the colleges first set up their own regulations. Though I have already discussed these regulations, I should like to say here that the colleges did not, at that time, ask any other organization to accept the collegiate rules; those organizations that adopted them did so of their own free will.

The college conferences have played an important part in the control of basketball. Indeed, it would have been impossible to have the sport on a high plane had it not been for their regulations concerning eligibility and playing rules. The conferences h£ve not been uniform, but their regulations have tended to elevate basketball to the position that it enjoys in colleges today.

There is no doubt in my mind that the finest basketball played today is in the colleges. We often hear a comparison of the merits of collegiate teams and those of the independent or professional teams. I do not claim that collegiate teams are superior to many of the independent teams, but I do believe that the college players, as a group, are far superior to any other group that may be mentioned.

In making a comparison of the college and independent teams, it will be well to ask how many of the independent players received much of their basketball training in colleges. I am sure that the percentage is very high.

While the colleges have spread the game by presenting contests before thousands of spectators, they have also developed the technique of the game to a remarkable degree. As the high schools expanded their sports, they went to the colleges to find coaches who were experts in basketball. In this manner, the college-trained players not only spread but they also developed the game. It is needless to say that most of the secondary coaches of today are far superior to the early college coaches and that there were few college teams as late as 1900 that would have a chance with the high-school basketball teams of our larger cities today.

It may seem odd that the construction of gymnasiums and field houses has affected the spread of basketball; these great buildings, however, have allowed many spectators to see the game. As a result, the enthusiasts have organized many of their own teams.

In the past few years, the colleges have also developed coaching schools. These schools, conducted by some of the outstanding coaches of the country, give the teachers from the smaller schools a chance to meet and discuss new developments of the game, such as rules and systems. Several times I have visited these schools, and I have found the discussions most interesting.

It is only fair to give due credit to the colleges for their development of basketball. I feel, however, that there is another point to be considered: colleges, at the present time, dominate the game. The number of collegiate members of the rules committee far exceeds the membership of any other organization. The colleges have taken the responsibility of regulating the game for all the institutions that are playing it. In my opinion, their control may not be beneficial to the game. It seems unfair, moreover, that the colleges should make drastic rules for themselves, then force other organizations to accept them.

With the introduction of the ten-second rule, many of the high-school and not a few of the college conferences ignored the change in play. At the present time, there is much discussion of other changes that have been suggested. Most of them are directly concerned with the colleges and take no recognition of the superior numbers who play the game in other organizations. It is my belief that if the colleges change the game, they should expressly state that many of the revisions affect only their own rules.

High Schools

If, in the coming basketball season, the papers should announce that the Holyoke, Massachusetts, High School played and defeated Dartmouth and Holy Cross Colleges, many people would be inclined to think that there must have been some mistake. In the season of 1900-1901 the Holyoke team defeated both of these teams along with some other strong teams. It was not at all uncommon for the early high-school teams to outrank the allege teams.

Basketball was accepted by th^mgh schools before the colleges took it up as an organized sport. There may be several explanations for this fact, but I believe that the younger boys who.played in the Y.M.C.A. gymnasiums took the game with them into the high schools. It was only after these boys graduated from high school and entered college that basketball really began to take hold in that institution.

The first basketball league of which I have any record was in Denver, Colorado, in 1896, while I was physical director of the Y.M.C.A. As the high schools did not have a gymnasium, the games of their league were played in the “Y” gym. There were few officials at that time, and as a result I did much of this work. Many of the high-school players were also students in my Y.M.C.A. classes, and usually after a game the boys would ask me for information about their technique or play. Their enthusiasm was largely responsible for the high type of play in this league.

Though I have no definite record, I know that the game spread very rapidly in the high schools; and it was only a few years after the introduction of basketball until many high schools all over the country were playing games among themselves. Today there is no other institution that has so many teams as the high schoo^

A few years ago I attended an interscholastic tournament in Indianapolis, Indiana. At the most advantageous point on the floor was a row of reserved seats. inquiring about them, I was told that these seats were reserved for the college coaches at the tournament. During the course of the evening, I noticed two of the outstanding coaches of the country carefully observing the play and taking notes. Just how much of the reputation of these men depended on their selection of future basketball players I do not know, but I think it safe to say that there are few high-school tournaments where college coaches may not be found looking for mate



coaches really know more basketball than any one of the instructors under whom they may study.

It must not be inferred that basketball is confined in the high schools to the very few teams that represent the schools. The game is used as an intramural sport as well as a class exercise. It has been estimated that 95 per cent of the high schools in this country play basketball; and if this estimate is anywhere near correct, the high schools certainly lead all other institutions in the number of players. For this reason, the various state high-school athletic associations have organized to control as well as to develop and to stabilize the game.

Mr. Arthur Trestler was largely responsible for the splendid organization of the high schools in Indiana, one of the first states to conduct a series of tournaments. The winners of these tournaments still meet in Indianapolis to play for the state title. I was invited to attend one of these tournaments, and the sight of the Indianapolis Coliseum, packed mth fifteen thousand people, gave me a thrill that I shall not soon forget.

I was to speak at the final game of the tournament, and arrived at the Coliseum to find that the doors had been closed. There were no seats left, and many people were being turned away. At the door I presented a reserved seat ticket and an official’s badge, only to be informed by the guard that he could allow no one to enter. I explained to him that I was to speak there that evening, but he only smiled and shook his head. As I stood there chuckling to myself, a captain of police stepped up to me and asked what the trouble was. I explained my predicament. He asked my name, and when I told him he exploded, “Good Lord, man, why didn’t you say so long ago?”

Most of the states all over the country have adopted the same system that is used in Indiana, and the old system of having all the high-school teams in the state meet at one place for a grand big elimination tournament has largely been done away with. While this old system had some advantages, there were also many drawbacks. One of the older schedules lists 1,478 players as contestants in one tournament. This number was not unusually large, but it may well show the problems that arose.

Basketball has played an important part in intramural programs, and statistics (see p. 191) show that there are more teams entered in basketball than in any other sport. Not long ago I was talking to Mr. Harley Selvedge, head of the physical education department at Paseo High School, in Kansas City, Missouri. Mr. Selvedge told me that in his school there were 112 teams of six men each who played basketball in their regular classes. Beside these teams there were forty that were playing an intramural schedule in addition to the regular school team.

While I do not feel that basketball should be substituted for a physical-education course in high school, I do feel that the game supplies an interesting and profitable activity for the growing boy.


A few years ago, on a visit to my only sister I asked her if she had ever forgiven me for leaving the ministry. She looked seriously at me, shook her head and said, “No, Jim, you put your hand to the plow and then turned back.” As long as she lived she never witnessed a basketball game, and I believe that she was a little ashamed to think that I had been the originator of the game.

My sister was very religious, and the attitude that she took toward sports of all kinds was not at all uncommon. I can distinctly remember in my boyhood days the concern that was felt for the men and boys who were taking part in athletics. It has only been in comparatively recent years that the churches have accepted athletics as an aid; it will never cease to be a wonder to me when I hear some athletic event announced from the pulpit.

Just how much basketball has had to do with the acceptance of athletics in the churches is a moot question. It is very likely that many of the churches realized the necessity for some activity that would keep the young people interested, and as basketball was easily learned and required little capital to outfit a team, it presented a desirable recreation. Today, there are few cities in the United States that do not sponsor a church basketball league; and in some of the larger -cities, hundreds of teams are sponsored by the churches.

Probably the first church to form a basketball team was the one directed by Doctor Hall in New York City. Many times I have heard this man speak from the pulpit, and it is not a surprise to me that he was among the pioneers to foster sports for the younger people in the church. I am not sure of the exact date that this team was formed, but it was in the early part of 1897.

It was not until 1904 that a group of churches, realizing that basketball might be a distinct help, met and organized a league in New York City. Four churches were represented in this first league; since its organization, this league has probably grown to be the largest in the world. The following year, the Cleveland churches formed a league; and today there are several hundred teams in that city playing regular schedules throughout the basketball season. Today, one church league in Brooklyn, New York, consists of sixty-six teams. In Toronto, Canada, a city where only a few years ago the city fathers refused to let the street cars run on Sunday, there is a church league of seventy-five boys’ teams and thirty-one girls’ teams.

In 1905, the theological colleges began to take up basketball, and the development of the game in these institutions had much to do with the spread in the religious organizations. When the students graduated from these institutions and went into the field, they took with them a favorable attitude toward basketball; much credit must be given to these young men for the acceptance of sports by the churches.

While the high schools undoubtedly have the largest number of highly organized teams, churches and Sunday schools all over the country have organized teams and leagues, and the number of boys and girls that are taking part in these leagues runs into hundreds of thousands. More and more, basketball will be an opportunity of solving the problem of leisure time.

In Dallas, Texas, I was invited to witness some basketball games. I expected to see two teams in action. Imagine my surprise, on entering one of the buildings, to see ten courts laid out. I was informed that each court was used every night of the week, and that many of the teams represented churches or Sunday schools. A partition cut off about half of the courts. One section was always free to any one wishing to watch the games, and the other was used by the teams that charged admission.

Whenever I witness games in a church league, I feel that my vision, almost half a century ago, of the time when the Christian people would recognize the true value of athletics, has become a reality.

There are two other religious organizations that closely resemble the Y.M.C.A. in their objectives and methods: the Knights of Columbus and the Young Men’s Hebrew Association. The Catholic institutions early took up basketball in the parish houses; Father Matthew’s Temperance Societies had teams before records were kept.

The first church league was composed of Catholic teams and was organized in 1904 in New York City. The number of leagues in the Catholic churches increased rapidly for the next few years.

In answer to an inquiry, Thomas It. Hill writes concerning the Knights of Columbus:

Basketball has been played among the various councils in Philadelphia intermittently for the past twenty years. However, with the organization of the National Council of this society in 1921, the game was adopted as a major sport and leagues have been conducted each year since that time.

In 1923, Chicago had a Knights of Columbus league consisting of eighteen teams.

Loyola University, of Chicago, has, since 1923, held the National Catholic Interscholastic Basketball Tournament, and the number of teams in this tournament is increasing each year. These teams represent Catholic leagues of cities, states, and districts scattered over the United States.

The Young Men’s Hebrew Association had many players and a number of teams in the early history of basketball. Before the spread of this organization for Jewish people, many of them made use of the Y.M.C.A. privileges. In 1915, there were thirteen cities that reported having teams or leagues playing regular schedules. In New York City there were fifteen Y.M.H.A.’s, and from these teams the Metropolitan League was formed. In 1923 the organization formed a league that was known as the Big Brother Jewish League in Philadelphia, and each year these leagues have increased in number as the game has grown in popularity among these societies. One season, the Y.M.H.A.

of Kansas City was runner-up for competition in the national tournament, representing Kansas City.

Settlement Souses

It is indeed interesting to note that the settlement houses were among the very early institutions to take up basketball.

As I sat in a National Collegiate Athletic Association meeting one day in New York City, a young man next to me leaned over, introduced himself, and asked me if I would come over to Brooklyn that evening and speak to a group of boys. I assured him that I would be delighted to do so, as I had wondered about the work that these organizations were doing.

The young man told me just how to reach the place, and as I followed those directions that evening, I found that they led me to an old gray stone church. The basement of the church was lighted, and as I made my way down the worn steps, my young acquaintance met me. He took me into the building and showed me the large gymnasium filled with benches. I had expected to see a small group of younger boys, but I soon realized that I was to talk to a large audience of boys ranging in age from twelve years to twenty—boys who were used to taking care of themselves. I noticed their alert faces—ready for any kind of fun and willing to take part in any kind of an escapade. It is seldom that I have worked harder to present the story of basketball than I did to that group. This meeting was my introduction to settlement-house work, and I began to inquire when these houses had first used the game.

According to my record, Hull House in Chicago was the first to play outside games. In 1900 it scheduled several games with outside organizations, and it found that basketball was a material help in keeping some of the boys off the streets. Several settlement houses in New York City had played for some time before this, but the competition had always been within the institution. It was not until 1903 that a permanent organization was formed for the control of basketball; today the game is considered one of the major activities in the settlement houses.

Though the game has been extensively used in connection with settlement work, it has received little publicity, because the attention has been given to the development of the boys rather than to the winning of the games.

Industrial Institutions

As the whole country has become conscious of the need for recreation, many of our large industrial institutions have set aside appropriations for it. Basketball is today the most important sport sponsored by the industries. Most large cities have industrial leagues that are of immense value, not only to the players but to the industries as well. I have seen two rival industrial teams play games that caused as much interest and feeling as most of our college games. A manufacturer in Chicago once made the statement to me that the games played between the departments of his factory did more to develop loyalty to the organization than any other factor.

As the industrial teams became highly expert, they began to travel over the country, and their sponsors realized that in the teams they had a means of advertising. The Cook Paint and Yarnish team of Kansas City, known all over the United States; the Hillard Chemical Company of St. Joseph, Missouri; the Tulsa Oilers, a team that played the outstanding teams of the country; and the Wichita Henrys, at one time an outstanding team of the country—all are teams that have an amateur standing and that are sponsored by industrial institutions.

There has been some objection to the industries using basketball as an advertising medium, but I part see no foundation for it. Often when a boy graduates from college, he is given a job with some firm with the understanding that he will play on the firm’s team in his spare hours. This play not only allows the boy to continue his physical activity, but also allows him the advantage of being well known. In my estimation, these are distinct advantages to the boys themselves, and hundreds of them have become highly valued members of the organizations for which they went to work. In return for the interest and money the industries have spent on teams all over the country, it is only fair that they should derive some measure of the advertising as well as the increased loyalty developed by their players.

Indian Teams

The term All American, as used in sports, usually denotes a selection of players who are supposedly the best in the United States. I have in mind a team that was composed of players who really were all Americans. Basketball among the Indians has had little publicity; yet a letter that I have from Dr. H. F. Kallenberg tells of the introduction of basketball of 1892. Doctor Kallenlperg says:

In the summer of 1892_I. attended, with C. K. Ober, conferences of 'Sioux' Indians held at Big Stone Lake, Souf£ Dakota? The following summer I attended the same conference which was held (at Pierre. At both of these conferences I introduced basketball, and it was played for the first time by the Indians. We cut small saplings for uprights and in place of baskets we used a rim made of willows and fastened to the uprights. The Indians took to the game like ducks do to water, and soon basketball became their chosen form of recreation.

Carlisle was the first Indian school to play basketball, but the success that it met with there showed that the game was especially adapted to Indian youth. It was not long after, that U. S. G. Plank introduced the game into Haskell Institute. During each winter I made it a point to see several games at Haskell, because I delight in the agility of the Indian boys.

I have talked to several coaches of Indian teams and have found that coaching a team of Indian boys presents several problems that are not found among white boys. One coach told me that he had several good players who would not take part in the sport for fear of ridicule, and that some of the boys felt it inexcusable to make a mistake. They would not run this chance before a group of people. Besides, the Indian teams are usually made up of comparatively small men. This fact is a distinct handicap to them; but their ability to move quickly and their art of deception overcome the disadvantage of their height, so that wherever these teams play they are assured of a large crowd of spectators.

I have often said the most expert dribbler that I have ever seen was Louis (Little Rabbit) Weller, of Haskell Institute. I have seen him take the ball under bis own basket and weave his way in and out the entire length of the floor. It always amused spectators to see Little Rabbit take the ball and, by dribbling, challenge the much larger players to take it from him.

After a game in which I had watched Weller play, I was talking with some of the officials when someone touched me lightly on the arm. I turned to see a tall, well-built Indian boy extending his hand. Immediately my mind flashed back over the years to the time when I first came to Kansas and when this man had played guard on one of the first Haskell teams. How well I remember his superb guarding! To me this player, named Archiquette, had embodied all the requirements for a perfect guard.

Military and Naval Organizations

Since that early contest in April, 1892, between the Y.M.C.A. and the 26th Separate Company, a military organization, the military forces of the United States have continued to play basketball. The armories have supplied a place for the games, and there are few branches of the service that are not represented by hundreds of teams. The development of the game by the military forces has been in some measure responsible for the spread of basketball into the foreign countries.

After the Armistice, two teams from the American Army, one from Orly Flying Field, and the other, an artillery outfit from Bordeaux, visited the British sector to play basketball. They found that the British did not play the game because it had been introduced into England as a girls’ game.

When the Americans found that there were no British teams, they played an exhibition game. At the conclusion of the exhibition, a group of British officers asked if they could not have a try at it. As these men had no basketball shoes, they borrowed them from one of the teams, and, pulling off their tunics, they started to play. The hall was tossed up and, try as they might, the Englishmen were unable to get their hands on the ball. A major who had been so cocksure that a Britisher could excel at any sport made the remark, “Why, we did not know that it was that kind of a game, or we would certainly have used it as training for bayonet practice.”

The military men have always been of an athletic type, and it was natural that they would take up any form of sport that was available for winter use., Within five years after the game was started, there were eighteen military organizations playing regular schedules. National guard units, as well as the regular service, had teams, and during the nights that were not taken up by drill, the different companies or branches of the service used the armories for basketball games.

The Navy did not take up basketball so quickly as the military branches, but when it once started, it organized teams in the different yards. Soon each ship with sufficient recreation space was busy developing a team to represent it.

Both the Army and the Navy have been instrumental in spreading the game to foreign countries. As the Army is usually posted in one place longer than the Navy, it naturally has had a better chance to introduce the game into foreign lands. Both the Nayy and the Marines, however, have promoted the game. Mr. R. I. Forbes, who is stationed in China, recently told me that the Marines in Peiping not only play games with the Chinese teams but also aid these teams by coaching and officiating.


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