Thursday, September 11, 2014

Love it or Hate It

 Football is Here to Stay

Welcome to our new look and a great give away drawing. Details at end of blog.

My topic this month is for sports enthusiasts across the land. If you don’t like sports of any kind, you probably won’t care about the history of football.  Every fall a phenomena known as “football fever” takes over a large per cent of the population as evidenced by the thousands who attend or view on television the hundreds of high school, college and professional games available every week from August to February. As the mother of three sons always involved in sports, my husband and I attended high school games every weekend for many years, and we took our boys to college games as often as possible when they were growing up.

However, just as many don’t care a whit about football or any other sports and dread the constant bombardment of sports new on television and radio and in the newspapers. That’s what makes us a great people. Diversity makes the world a more interesting place to live.

For those who are fans, football goes back a lot further than I even imagined. As early as 1820 the boys at Princeton and Harvard played different variations of the game largely based on the game of rugby. Dartmouth joined them in the 1830’s. The games were much more violent and dangerous than today’s games since they were a mob-style, free-for-all games that resulted in serious injury to players. Then in the 1860’s the game was banned at both Yale and Harvard.

From there it evolved into a game even more like rugby and was played by boys in prep schools. The Oneida Football Club was organized in 1862 and believed to be the first formal football club in the United States. In 1873, representatives from Columbia, Rutgers, Princeton, and Yale Universities met in New York City to formulate the first intercollegiate football rules for the increasingly popular game. These four teams established the Intercollegiate Football Association (IFA) and set 15 as the number of players allowed on each team.

Finally, in 1878, Walter Camp from Yale proposed new rules that moved the game closer to what we see today. The IFA’s rules committee, led by Camp, soon cut the number of players from fifteen to eleven, and also instituted the size of the playing field, at one hundred ten yards. In 1882 Camp also introduced the system of downs. After first allowing three attempts to advance the ball five yards, in 1906 the distance was changed to ten yards. The fourth down was added in 1912.

Many still held concerns over the number of injuries in the brutality of the game. In 1905, President Theodore Roosevelt called on Princeton, Yale and Harvard to come up with new rules that would save the game from demise. From those meetings, the National Collegiate Athletic Association was born. The NCAA is still the major rule making force behind college football. The picture is from a game in 1906.

In 1892 the Allegheny Athletic Association football team defeated the Pittsburgh Athletic Club. The game wasn’t important, but the fact that one of the AAA players was paid $500 to play did become important. With that one act, pro football made its debut. No one had the slightest clue as to what would transpire in the next 100 years with the popularity of the sport.

In 1920, even more history was made when a group of seven men, including the legendary Jim Thorpe, met to organize football into a professional league in Canton, Ohio. From that meeting the American Professional Football Conference was born and is the forerunner of the National Football League. 

Today we have teams from colleges of all sizes playing each week to crowds that range from a few thousands to close to one hundred
thousand. Fans paint their faces and wear their school colors to support their men on the field.

This picture is one of our grandson Seth charging the field before a Baylor game. He and all the freshmen are decked out in their gold to support the Bears. He's the on the left waving his green cap. This is a tradition in which two of our sons and two of our grandsons have participated. 

Professional teams take the field each week with some players earning millions of dollars to play the sport. Whether you love it or hate it, football is a part of our history and a big part of our culture today. 

Do you have a favorite sports team from high school, college or professional?

Be sure to enter the drawing for our big give away. I'm giving away a basket of Sweet Treats from Texas featuring Texas pecans as part of HHH's big renovation giveaway. Included are pralines and chocolate pecan clusters. The drawing will be held at the end of September with a $50 gift certificate as the grand prize. 

Martha Rogers is a free-lance writer and was named Writer of the Year at the Texas Christian Writers Conference in 2009 and writes a weekly devotional for ACFW. Martha and her husband Rex live in Houston where they enjoy spending time with their grandchildren.  A former English and Home Economics teacher, Martha loves to cook and experimenting with recipes and loves scrapbooking when she has time. She has written two series, Winds Across the Prairie and Seasons of the Heart as well as several other novels and novellas. Love Stays True, the first book in her new series, The Homeward Journey, released in May, 2013 and book 2, Love Finds Faith, in February 2014, and book 3, Love Never Fails releases November 4.

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  1. Hi Martha! I'm not a big football fan but, when they play, I cheer for the OU Sooners and the New England Patriots! Btw, that grandson of yours is quite good looking!!
    kam110476 at gmail dot com

  2. Because of my husband, I do watch football. We root for Dallas Cowboys and Virginia Tech.
    Campbellamyd At gmail dot com

  3. Hello, dear friend! Yes, the "Friday Night Lights" phenomena has been a very real part of our family history as well. My brother played football in Arlington, TX. I was a cheerleader. Football games have blared from our tv all of our 52 years of marriage. All seven of our grandsons have played football from junior high on. Some were excellent, and were recruited by colleges, and some were pretty bad. This season we have two great-grandsons playing football and spend a good part of our Saturdays at the football field.

    We are huge Baylor football fans and our grandson, Evan, is also this year a part of the Baylor Line.

    From time to time one of my lady friends will be with us at a game or when a game is on tv and, after realizing I'm not really paying attention to their conversation, will comment, "Oh! You are really interested in watching this game aren't you?" LOL!! Yes, I really do like the game and usually find myself easing toward the male conversation about a team or a play.

    Thanks for your research on the history on the sport. And, BTW, hope to see you again at Baylor Homecoming this year!

    1. I heard from Rick Busby and he's busy setting up arrangements. Hope to see you in the bookstore, too, Golden. We need to catch up.

  4. Sports have always been a part of our lives. Texas Aggies rule with one set of kids and Arkansas Razorbacks rule with the other set. Texans and football just go together!

    mauback55 at gmail dot com

  5. I am from Odessa, Texas where the movie Friday Night Lights is set. My husband and my son go to the Permian Panthers football games every Friday that they are in town. I am not a football fan. If I go, it is to watch the band.
    susanmsj at msn dot com

  6. I grew up going with my parents to see the Wisconsin Badgers play, and then went as a student while I was in school there. My parents call me every weekend to let me know how they did, in case I didn't watch. When my kids were in high school my Friday nights were spent at the stadium, but that was to see them in the marching was all fun!

  7. Martha, no football in our house.
    My husband refuses to watch it because his best friend died in high school from a football injury. We do watch baseball and I'm an ice-skating nut.

  8. I am a fan of football so I am glad that it is back on.

  9. I grew up in Green Bay during the glory years of the Packers. We'd have beautiful Sunday afternoons, and no one would come out to play. They were all inside watching the Packer game.
    I am proud of the Pack. These days, though, I watch the scores, not the games. Too stressful.

  10. I don't do football no way, no how. LOL. I have to admit, to me it is the most boring sport besides golf! :)
    lattebooks at hotmail dot com

    1. That's great, Susan. I grew up with sports loving dad and grandfather and then married a high school basketball player, then had three sons who played football, basketball and baseball in their childhood and high school years. Middle son played in the band. So, I didn't have much sports or miss a large part of sons' youth activities.

  11. We're 49ers fans here since my father-in-law grew up in San Jose. I love attending high school football games since they are affordable and there's so much excitement!

    1. I love high school football games too because of the energy and the fun with both parents and students. Love to watch the bands and drill teams perform. As grandparents, we get in free, so you can't beat that.

  12. The first words out of my husband's mouth when we found we were being transferred to Lincoln, NE were, "That's where the Cornhuskers play!" My response? ... "Play what?" That was in 1975. I ended up taking a CLASS on football taught by one of the team coaches and it really did change my life for the better. It was great fun (we got to run plays on the field) and I was enabled to enjoy the fellowship that happens here around Nebraska football. It's never too late to learn something new. Thanks for this insight into the history behind the sport, Martha!

  13. Thanks for sharing this great history, Martha! Our household cheers loudly for Texas A&M! Gig 'em Aggies!!

    texaggs2000 at gmail dot com

  14. I enjoy watching my university team play football and sometimes watch a few pro games. I didn't know the history of the sport so found this post to be very interesting.

  15. We do have a lot of Texas A&M Aggie football games on in the fall and our son plays flag football. Thanks for your interesting post.
    Brittany McEuen
    kbmceuen at yahoo dot com

  16. Hi Martha, I don't care for football but I know it is very popular. I never really understood it. About the time I thought I was beginning to understand, they would call a fowl on someone for what I had just seen another do and not get called. When I was in High School my team was "The Texhoma Red Devils." I played in our band, so we played at the midtime break every game. I do love Baseball tho. Favorite team is the Astros, tho they have traded so many of the ones I loved, I hardly know any anymore. Maxie > mac262(at)me(dot)com <

  17. I watch with some interest but I usually have something my hands can do (sew, knit ect) I like to see everyone get so excited though! truckredford (at) gmail dot com