Evolution of War and Sports
The strategy of warfare is largely controlled by the munitions that are available, spears and swords made it a very personal, arms length, encounter. Newer technology has sped up encounters and made them progressively more distant. Battles started on land, moved to the sea and eventually the air. Initially, weapons killed one at time, over time they were able to kill masses from a distance, and then they became more accurate. The drive for military superiority has funded the development of many new technologies including; clocks for longitude, new munitions such as nuclear, and semiconductors.
The organized sport started as a way for states to compete without killing. It evolved into games for the leisure classes. In the 1900's, it became a source of mass entertainment and tribal rivalry. The desire for sports competition to be seen to be fair has seen battles over access, doping and professionalism.
Based on lethality, the significant conflicts have been;
1618-48 Thirty Years War for European dominance between Habsburg-ruled Spain and Austria, and the French House of Bourbon, with religious overtones , Around 6M total casualties.
1701-15 War of Spanish Succession - The death of childless Charles II of Spain led to a struggle for control of the Spanish Empire between his heirs, Philip of Anjou and Charles of Austria, and their respective supporters, among them Spain, Austria, France, the Dutch Republic, Savoy and Great Britain.
1756 -63 Seven Years War was a global conflict that involved most of the European great powers, and was fought primarily in Europe, the Americas, and Asia-Pacific. Other concurrent conflicts include the French and Indian War (1754–1763), the Carnatic Wars and the Anglo-Spanish War (1762–1763). The opposing alliances were led by Great Britain and France respectively, both seeking to establish global pre-eminence at the expense of the other.
1789-99 French Revolution, ending with Napoleon's military dictatorship.
1803–15 Napoleonic Wars, conflict across Europe all the way to Russia to be driven back by the winter. Defeat at Waterloo finished off Napoleon.
1850-64 Taiping Revolution in China may have been the deadliest civil war in history. It was waged between the Manchu-led Qing dynasty and the Hakka-led Taiping Heavenly Kingdom. After the conflict that caused around 20 million dead, the established Qing government won decisively, although at a great price to its fiscal and political structure.
1914-18 World War 1 Britain, France, Russia, Italy, Japan vs Germany, Austro-Hungary, Ottoman.
1939-45 World War 2 Britain, France, Russia, USA, vs Germany, Italy, Japan
Major wars have occurred at roughly 50 year intervals, with France and Great Britain have been key players in all of these except Taiping.
Time line of the evolution of war
The hunter gatherers around the world left arrow heads in innumerable camps showing that bow & arrows and spears were the hunters weapon of choice.
By 3000 BCE, horses had been domesticated and were shown in Mesopotamian art being ridden and pulling chariots in battle.
By 1600 BCE, the first swords appeared in the Greek Mycenaean communities during the Bronze age, when the metallurgy could produce blades that were not brittle. Protection in the form of armor also appeared at the same time.
By 700 BCE the crossbow first appeared, allowing much greater force and range.
By 500 BCE, the Phonecians introduced large scale naval battles using tri-remes. These were large 3 decker row boats that had battering rams to sink their opponents. The row boats were slow but comparatively maneuverable compared by sail boats.
By 200 BCE, the Romans developed mobile battle strategies using chariots. The Carthaginians under Hannibal famously used elephants as their terror weapon. His army consisted of 38,000 infantry, 8,000 cavalry, and 38 elephants, half of which made it over the Alps.
By 850, the Chinese had discovered black powder, and invented the first cannons and grenades
By the 1200's, firearms had migrated to Europe over the Silk road but were not yet decisive in battle. The Chinese had developed the first exploding shells.
In the Middle Ages, horse cavalry became the dominant mobile force in support of infantry and crossbowmen
In 1346, in the Hundred years war, at the Battle of Crecy, the English decisively used a long bow made from a wood laminate to as a long range weapon with a much quicker firing rate than the crossbow. The British force consisted of 15,000: 2,500 men-at-arms, 7,000 longbowmen, 3,250 cavalry and 2,300 spearmen.
By the 1400's, flintlock firearms and cannons had migrated to Europe and were available to the earliest invaders of the Americas. The first exploding shells are used in Europe..
In the 1500's firearms had become decisive in battles. Exploration and expansion by the major naval powers had become the source of conflict.
In 1588, the invasion of the Spanish Armada included 24 purpose-built warships, 44 armed merchantmen, with 10,138 sailors and 19,315 soldiers, and bore 1,500 brass guns and 1,000 iron guns. The full body of the fleet took two days to leave port. The Spanish fleet outgunned that of the English with 50% more available firepower than the English. The English fleet consisted of the 34 ships of the Royal Fleet, and 30 that carried up to 42 guns each. The English ships were more maneuverable than the Spanish which led to their success.
By the1600's, large naval warships had become the rulers of the sea. The Vasa which sank in 1628, was the first triple decker gunship, the pinnacle of Sweden as a naval power.
In the 1700's, British naval power was dominant. The flagship Victory launched in 1758 was 57m long with 104 guns firing 19-5 Kg shot, using over 800 crew.
In 1707, 4 warships and between 1,400 and 2,000 sailors lost their lives aboard the wrecked vessels, making the incident one of the worst maritime disasters in British naval history. This was caused because there was no way of accurately measuring longitude. The Admiralty offered a $1M (todays money) reward for a accurate clock. It took Harrison 5 designs to perfect a clock that in 1773 was accurate to 1/3 sec per day.
In 1814, the "Star Spangled Banner" celebrated exploding bombs. Despite the use of exploding shells, the use of smoothbore cannons firing spherical projectiles of shot remained the dominant artillery method until the 1850s.
In 1815, the British Navy were winners at Trafalgar. Waterloo was the final battle of the Napoleonic Wars. The scale of battles increased significantly. The French army of around 69,000 consisted of 48,000 infantry, 14,000 cavalry, and 7,000 artillery with 250 guns. Opposed by 67,000 men: 50,000 infantry, 11,000 cavalry, and 6,000 artillery with 150 guns. In addition, there were 17,000 Dutch and Belgian troops, 11,000 from Hanover, 6,000 from Brunswick, and 3,000 from Nassau.
In 1857, the Crimean War saw the first decisive use of exploding shells.
1861-65 The American Civil War was fought over the souths desire to keep slavery. It was the costliest and deadliest war ever fought on American soil, with some 620,000 of 2.4 million soldiers killed, mostly from disease, millions more injured and much of the South left in ruin. Howitzers firing up to 15 Kg explosive shells were key artillery. Rifling improved accuracy and range of rifles. The Gatling gun was a rapid-firing multiple-barrel firearm invented in 1861 using a paper cartridge, and saw occasional use.
The Navy was revolutionized with ironclad warship as a steam-propelled boat protected by iron or steel armor plates. The ironclad was developed as a result of the vulnerability of wooden warships to explosive or incendiary shells.
1884 The Maxim machine gun was developed using solid brass cartridges.
1890 The first steel battleships powered by coal-fired triple-expansion steam engines, they carried a main battery of very heavy guns in fully-enclosed rotating turrets supported by one or more secondary batteries of lighter weapons.
1903 Wright Brothers first flight.
In 1906 Royal Navy's launched all-big-gun battleship Dreadnought, Powered by steam turbines, it was bigger, faster and more heavily gunned, 400 Kg shells, than any existing battleships, which it immediately rendered obsolete. The torpedo-boat destroyer was developed at the same time as the dreadnoughts. Bigger, faster and more heavily gunned than the torpedo boat, the destroyer evolved to protect the capital ships from the menace of the torpedo boat.
1914-1918, the First World War was the first technology war. The Austro-Hungarian empire was dealing with internal instability. The assassination of the Arch Duke by Serbian nationalists, triggered existing alliances which brought Germany, Austro-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire in conflict with Britain, France, Russia, Italy, Japan.
Fighting occurred throughout Europe, the Middle East, Africa, the Pacific, and parts of Asia. An estimated 9 million soldiers were killed in combat, plus another 23 million wounded, while 5 million civilians died as a result of military action, hunger, and disease. America joining with the Allies finally turned the corner in the war.
There were many different battle dynamics. In France, the Maginot Line that was built as a fortified defence against German invasion, which was bypassed, leading to stationary trench warfare in Flanders. Machine guns and howitzers were responsible for the infantry slaughter, including "Big Bertha" a howitizer that lobbed 1 ton shells. The first tanks were responsible for the final success in Flanders. The invasion of Russia covered vast distances and was thwarted eventually by the Russian winter. The British challenged the Ottomans in the Arabian desert with Lawrence of Arabia, and at the disaster of Gallipoli.
Biplanes were used as air to ground attack, but were not consequential in the outcome.
Post war, many restrictions were imposed on the losers, and the great depression hit all the worlds economies. Hitler, a corporal in the trenches in WW1, democratically rose to power in Germany blaming the Jews and promising national revitalization. He immediately suspended democracy and set the table for WW2, and the Holocaust.
1939-1945 The Second World War saw another step up in mobile warfare with submarines, air craft carriers, bombers, fighters, mobile tanks. Controlling the air became the critical strategy, that allowed land and sea operations. The rapid deployment of mobile air and land power in the "blitzkrieg" against under-resourced opposition in Europe and Russia. Over time the logistical challenges of supply over huge invaded territory slowed progress and the Allies developed modernized war economies. Again, America joining, triggered by Pearl Harbor, was the turning point in Europe along the Russian winter and huge resources. The military deaths were a staggering 16M Allies to 8M Axis, and civilian deaths 45M to 4M.
Relentless, poorly aimed, air bombing of civilians by both sides does not appear to have had any significant morale impact. The atomic bomb was the exception in finally precipitating Japan's surrender, after massive conventional bombing had failed.
Keys to success included radar, fighter aircraft in the Battle of Britain, air craft carriers in the war in the Pacific, misdirection and resources in D day, breaking the Enigma code, and Russian winters - again !
Post war, the Allies tried to avoid the mistakes of WW1, they funded recovery across Europe including Germany, and Japan. They established permanent forces in West Germany and Japan, while restricting their militaries. The practical result has been economic recovery and stable democracies in these countries.
The Cold War took over with USSR determined to avoid further invasions after 3 attempts in 100 years, by Napoleon and Germany in WW1 & 2. They established a sphere of influence over most of Eastern Europe and half of Germany, and imposed communist control. There was a clear demarcation between NATO and the USSR and the combined nuclear weaponry to destroy the planet. At the peak they jointly held about 70,000 warheads, equivalent to 70 billion tons of TNT or 1/1000 of the KT Meteor or roughly the Yellowstone basin eruption), now about 14,000 warheads.
The USSR finally collapsed through economic failure, and aging leadership in 1989, with East Germany, Poland, Czeck Republic, Slovakia, etc. becoming capitalist democracies. and precipitated a brief democratic cycle in Russia. Vladimir Putin took over, returned to autocracy, and set the table for Crimea and the invasion of Ukraine in 2022.
The US became the bastion of western democracy while trying to avoid direct confrontation with USSR. The Korean War against China ended with stalemate, complete destruction of the economy and the US maintaining a permanent military presence in South Korea which again led to local stability and economic growth. Interventions in Vietnam, Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan were repelled by the locals in the long term. It certainly appears that the lesson is that overwhelming destruction followed by a permanent presence of the victor is essential for maintaining influence - which really is the practical implementation of empire.
US became dominant in military technology after WW2 with the US as the major world economy, and everyone else reduced to rubble. Most of the subsequent technology developments have been in air power. Jet engines became standard, with supersonic flight following in 1947, and Vertical Take Off and Landing in 1969. Guided munitions or "smart weapons" started an era of precision missiles using, infrared seeking, vision guided, laser targeted, sonar targeted, fly by wire, inertial guidance, and GPS. Stealth technology for aircraft made them almost invisible. Semiconductors were a critical component of smart weapons, and the US military funded much of the early technology development.
Helicopters had been sketched by Leonardo da Vinci, but it was not till 1928, that the first auto-gyro was capable of crossing the Channel. A few helicopters were used for rescue in WW2. In 1957, the first turbine powered helicopters became commercial. During the US involvement in the latter half of the Vietnam war (1970-1975), helicopters were the backbone of operations in a country with little infrastructure and lots of jungle.
The atomic bombs evolved into hydrogen fusion bombs. Uranium fission bombs as used at Hiroshima had a power 20,000 tons of TNT. Hydrogen Fusion bombs had a power of 1.2 megatons of TNT, using a fission bomb to convert Lithium deuteride to deuterium and then compress and ignite the deuterium. They are typically delivered by ballistic missiles, and can have Multiple Independent reentry Vehicles. Smaller "tactical" nuclear weapons have the power of Hiroshima bomb delivered by smaller missiles.
At sea, nuclear powered submarines became a significant stealth nuclear threat, and nuclear powered air craft carriers are massive mobile sources of power projection.
In 2022, the Ukraine war found drones to be a key part of modern war, both for surveillance and delivering highly targeted vehicle specific destruction.
The limitations of overwhelming military power are all to apparent in the post WW2 era.
Mutually Assured Destruction means that nuclear weapons are unusable, and powers must avoid direct confrontation. Non-nuclear military force can be effective against weaker organized military. However, short of complete destruction, resourceful guerilla forces can completely compromise occupying forces, Afghanistan is the best example. The locals generally dislike occupiers and will always out live the occupier, the reason empires eventually fail. Stopping short of occupation and just triggering regime change, just results in a unsustainably weak regime.
The military–industrial complex or the relationship between the military and the defense-minded corporations, and politicians has ensured continued military spending inspite of the general un-usability. President Dwight D. Eisenhower on January 17, 1961 warned "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military–industrial complex."
The classic sports all evolved from excellence in day to day activities becoming competitions for instance, running, swimming, rowing, horse back riding, and archery. Hitting, kicking, throwing balls also seems to be a universal activity that entertains humans and animals. Board and card games appear across many societies, ideal for evening entertainment around the fire.
The Industrial Revolution spawned a growing middle class with leisure time. They became participants in sports at school and after.
Modern sports have become a big business in mass entertainment, particularly on TV, and a proxy for tribal rivalry. Unruly and racist supporters have become an issue, particularly when alcohol is available.
One challenge has become achieving fair competition inspite of access difficulties, doping, and professionalism. There have been big steps in gender equality, and international elite athletes access to training resources. Doping control has become random time, random location, year round. The competitors have public hour by hour itineraries so they can be found. The amateur gentlemen athlete of 1900, evolved into a shamateur by the 1970's with full time athletes masquerading as military, and under the table payments to track athletes and rugby players. The open era has accepted the reality that being an elite athlete is a full time activity. US college football seems to be the last organization unashamedly exploiting their athletes.
The Modern Olympics started as the international sports events with world wide following, initially for individual or amateur team sports. Held every 4 years.
Soccer was the first professional team sport with an international participation, and they started their World Cup in 1930. Cricket started in 1975, once the one day game was accepted. Rugby Union followed in 1987.
Political and social forces have impacted sports; the Berlin Olympics, the unequal representation of women, the exclusion of black americans before the 1980's, the Munich massacre, events with South Africa during Apartheid.
The Olympics in Greece were seen as a way to compete without war.
During the celebration of the games, the ekecheiria (an Olympic truce) was announced so that athletes and religious pilgrims could travel from their cities to the games in safety. The prizes for the victors were olive leaf wreaths or crowns. The games became a political tool used by city-states to assert dominance over their rivals. Politicians would announce political alliances at the games, and in times of war, priests would offer sacrifices to the gods for victory. The games were also used to help spread Hellenistic culture throughout the Mediterranean.
Aristotle reckoned the date of the first Olympics to be 776 BC, followed by over 145 Olympiad's ending in 393 AD, with new events being added over time.
776 BC 200m footrace
724 BC 400m footrace
720 BC Long-distance race (5000m)
708 BC Pentathlon, wrestling
688 BC Boxing
680 BC Four horse chariot race
648 BC Horse race , free wrestling
632 BC Boys' 200m and wrestling
616 BC Boys' boxing
520 BC Hoplite race - 400m in armor
500 BC Mule-cart race
496 BC Mare horse race 490 BC Soldier runs from Marathon to Athens
408 BC Two-horse chariot race
396 BC Competition for heralds and trumpeters
268 BC Chariot for horse over one year
256 BC Race for horses older than one year
200 BC Free wrestling for boys
New track and field events began developing in parts of Northern Europe in the Middle Ages. The stone put and weight throw competitions popular among Celtic societies in Ireland and Scotland were precursors to the modern shot put and hammer throw events. One of the last track and field events to develop was the pole vault, which stemmed from competitions such as the Fierljeppen contests in the Northern European Lowlands in the 18th century.
Discrete modern track and field competitions, were first recorded in the 19th century. These were typically organised by educational institutions, military organisations and sports clubs as competitions between rival establishments. The first definite record of cross-country is in 1834, making it the oldest running race of the modern era. The oldest track and field meeting still in existence, originating The first Wenlock Olympian Games were held at Much Wenlock racecourse. Events at the 1851 Wenlock Games included a "half-mile foot race" (805 m) and a "leaping in distance" competition.
Even since the earliest recorded references to rowing, the sporting element has been present. An Egyptian funerary inscription of 1430 BC records that the warrior Amenhotep (Amenophis) II was also renowned for his feats of oarsmanship. In the Aeneid, Virgil mentions rowing forming part of the funeral games arranged by Aeneas in honour of his father.
The first known ‘modern’ rowing races, began from competition among the professional watermen that provided ferry and taxi service on the River Thames in London. The oldest surviving such race, Doggett's Coat and Badge was first contested in 1715 and is still held annually from London Bridge to Chelsea.
10,000-year-old rock paintings of people swimming were found in the Cave of Swimmers near Wadi Sura in southwestern Egypt. An Egyptian clay seal dated between 9000 BC and 4000 BC shows four people who are believed to be swimming a variant of the front crawl
Swimming emerged as a competitive sport in the early 1800s in England. By 1837, the National Swimming Society was holding regular swimming competitions in six artificial swimming pools, built around London. The sport grew in popularity and by 1880, when the first national governing body, the Amateur Swimming Association, was formed, there were already over 300 regional clubs in operation across the country.
The Olympics were re-started in 1896 by Baron Pierre de Coubertin in Athens with 14 nations and 241 athletes who competed in 43 events. The number of events has increased, and the number for women has moved close to parity. The Winter Olympics has added skiing, ice skating, curling, and others. The Para-Olympics has added a whole new community of athletes.
Sports in 19th century remained a luxury of the middle and upper classes with lower class athletes routinely excluded from participation. The rules for the 1878 Henley Regatta declared: "No person shall be considered an amateur oarsman or sculler…who is or has been by trade or employment for wages, a mechanic, artisan, or laborer." - so much for the working class !
The 1892 congress redefined amateurism so that it restricted those who profited by their participation in a sport.
The Modern Olympics started as strictly amateur endeavor, athletes were expected to have full time job. Jim Thorpe was the first Native American gold medalist in 1906, which he then lost due to a sports job, and then had reinstated posthumously.
Privately wealthy individuals could train more and hire professional coaches, as in Harold Abrahams hiring Sam Mussobini for the 1924 Olympics as in "Chariots of Fire".
Hitlers plan to make the Berlin Olympics in 1935 a showpiece for Aryan superiority was upended by Jesse Owens.
At the Mexico Olympics in 1968, at the height of the Civil Rights fight in USA, the US 400m athletes held a demonstration during the medal ceremony.
At the Munich Olympics in 1972, Palestinian terrorists killed 11 Isreali athletes.
The prestige and money from Olympic success led to state-sponsored full time athletes in the military, doping in 1970s and 1980s East Germany, China, the Soviet Union, and early 21st century Russia, as well as prominent individual cases such as those of Olympic gold medallists Ben Johnson and Marion Jones. These seriously damaged the public image and marketability of the sport, and led to comprehensive year round drug. testing
in 1988 the IOC made all professional athletes eligible for participation in Olympic Game complex, allowing the Dream Team to dominate basketball in 1992 with Michael Jordan at the helm. Each sport has its own governing body that determines eligibility and rules of what is permissible in terms of an athlete's compensation.
Now countries can choose to fund sports that do not have mass appeal, at levels that allow them to be full time athletes. In the UK, the lottery has funded rowing and track cycling at full time levels and has resulted in great success. The best are now racing into their prime up to late 30's.
In 2020, the summer sports that get the most interest are track and field, swimming, and gymnastics. The winter sports are skiing, ice skating and ice hockey.
From the 1990s onwards, track and field became increasingly more professional and international, The IAAF World Championships in Athletics became a fully professional competition with the introduction of prize money In 2010, the series was replaced by the more lucrative Diamond League, a fourteen-meeting series held in Europe, Asia, North America, and the Middle East—the first-ever worldwide annual series of track and field meetings.
Games involving balls seem to have universal appeal as team games with minimal infrastructure.
Some form of ball game is portrayed on early Egyptian monuments.
Ball games were especially popular at Sparta. One early Greek game known as episkyros involved two teams of equal numbers. Between them a white line was laid out, and, at some distance behind each team, another line was marked. The play consisted in throwing the ball back and forth until one team in the exchange was finally forced back over its rear line.
Even among the Romans, who disliked participatory sports, ball play was extremely popular. The ancient Roman ball was usually made of leather strips sewn together and filled with various materials. The smallest, the harpastum, was a hard ball stuffed with feathers. The largest, the follis, contained an air-filled bladder, similar to a modern football (soccer ball) or basketball.
Ball games were important to the ancient Mayans (250 – 1697) and other Middle American peoples, and almost all Mayan cities had a form of basketball ball court—rectangular areas enclosed by tiers of seats for spectators. At heights of 20 to 30 feet (6 to 9 metres), a stone ring through which the ball was to be thrown was set into the wall, in a game known as pok-a-tok or tlachtli. The ball was made of rubber and was approximately 6 inches (15.2 cm) in diameter. Long ball, a traditional ball game still played among the Onondaga peoples of the Iroquois in upstate New York, is a form of tag employing a bat and a ball. Among the Igbo of Nigeria, boys play okpasa, a game in which three boys, with one in back and two in front, must avoid being touched by the ball. In villages in Vietnam, a traditional ball and chopstick game is played by children.
In 1597 a court case in England concerning an ownership dispute over a plot of common land in Guildford, Surrey, mentions the game of creckett. A 59-year-old coroner, John Derrick, testified that he and his school friends had played creckett on the site fifty years earlier when they attended the Free School. Derrick's account proves beyond reasonable doubt that the game was being played in Surrey circa 1550, and is the earliest universally accepted reference to the game.
The first reference to cricket being played as an adult sport was in 1611, when two men in Sussex were prosecuted for playing cricket on Sunday instead of going to church. In the same year, a dictionary defined cricket as a boys' game, and this suggests that adult participation was a recent development.
The sport of cricket has a known history beginning in the late 16th century. Having originated in south-east England, it became an established sport in the country in the 18th century and developed globally in the 19th and 20th centuries throughout the British Empire. International matches have been played since the 19th-century and formal Test cricket matches are considered to date from 1877. Cricket is the world's second most popular spectator sport after association football (soccer).
Professionals were full-time players during the cricket season and would mostly seek alternative employment in the winter months. The amateur was not always a full-time player during the season and many played by choice as they typically had other means of income or support, but got paid expenses.
At the height of the Anti-apartheid struggle, the 1968 England team to tour South Africa selected Basil D'olivera, a black SA expatriate, and the South Africans demanded that he be withdrawn. The tour was cancelled.
The international Test match format is a 5 game series of 5 day matches, requiring a 3 month tour. The county cricket format is a 3 day match, and village cricket a one day match. The international and county format, limits the involvement of anyone who has to work for living. Ball by ball radio commentary is the only way for most people to follow the game. The format excluded any sort of world cup for a sport with global participation.
Limited over cricket has created a new interest in the sport, while the traditionalists complained. The One Day International (ODI) is a form of limited overs cricket, played between two teams with international status, in which each team faces a fixed number of overs, currently 50, with the game lasting up to 9 hours. First played in 1971, the first World Cup was held in 1975. Kerry Packer's drive to develop a TV friendly version with TV sponsorship was key to success.
Twenty20 (T20) is a even shorter game format of cricket. At the professional level, it was introduced in 2003 for the inter-county competition. In a Twenty20 game, the two teams have a single innings each, which is restricted to a maximum of 20 overs. A typical Twenty20 game is completed in about two and a half hours, with each innings lasting around 70 minutes and an official 10-minute break between the innings. This allows for an evening, after work spectator.
During the 12th century, what you could call the “bare bones” of soccer was being played in the meadows of England. This early version was called ‘Folkball,’ and while it barely resembles the modern sport, as it involved punching the ball with your fist and violently tackling the opposing team, it did focus on kicking. But the game was far too violent. It wasn’t until the 1800s that it was re-established as a winter sport with much safer rules. The game was played between English public schools like Eton, Winchester, and Charterhouse. The only problem was that each school had its own rules. Some allowed the limited carrying of the ball, like rugby, while others didn’t allow players to touch it. The different rules made it hard for schools to compete.
So, in 1863 the first Football Association (FA) was formed in London to standardize all rules relating to soccer as a professional sport. England is a country of 50 million that has 120 professional teams. Soccer developed into the world sport, played in every village using a ball and a few jerseys for goal posts. Massive TV contracts led the formation of the English Premier League which became teams of international all stars. The problem is that 4 or 5 teams with world wide recognition have huge revenues and the rest just cannot compete.
The World Cup has become the top international sports event, over 100 countries enter, with the top 32 going to the tournament. As the top professional teams hire international all stars, more countries teams become competitive.
Rugby started at Rugby School in 1845. It split in 1895 into professional League and amateur Union. Union developed into the most popular international code which finally accepted professionals in 1995. The Rugby World Cup has become an international spectacle.
A game first mentioned in 1828 in England as "rounders" is similar to baseball. During the 1830s and 1840s organized amateur club baseball grew up in eastern United States cities, and the rules innovations made by New York City clubs became the basis for the modern game. In 1871 the first professional league, the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players, was founded. The game is pitcher dominant, with high speed pitches that must be hit by a round barrel bat. A good hit percentage is 30%, with limited control over ball trajectory. Several consecutive hits are usually required to get a run. 3 hits at 30% has a 3% probability.
Baseball reflected the civil rights struggle in the US. For many years there was the Major League and the Negro League. The Major League color bar was broken by Jackie Robinson in 1947, and put up with all sorts of abuse.
Baseball is a long form game format, although its a roughly 3 hour game, the professionals of MLB play 6-7 days a week for 162 games, plus playoffs. It is a game of low percentage of hits, so single game results are rather random, and multi - game series are needed to find the better team. Single elimination tournaments in baseball are not very satisfying.
Basketball was invented in 1891. The first professional league was founded in 1898.
The dynamics of basketball are very different, its comparatively easy to score, teams routinely score 50 baskets in a game. Defence is the low percentage activity, but critical to success.
Bill Russel joined the NBA in 1957 and became the first black superstar winning 11 Championships through the time of the civil rights conflict. The rivalry between Larry Bird and Magic Johnson moved the NBA up to a new level of popularity. Michael Jordan came along and made it a global force. When NBA professionals (Dream Team with Jordan) first played in the1992 Olympics it was very one sided. Since then more and more internationals appear in the NBA, and the Olympics have become much more competitive.
The NBA has a salary cap and a worst gets first draft scheme to ensure fair competition between teams.
American football (commonly known as football in the United States) was professionalized in the 1890s as a slow, and initially covert, process. It has become hugely popular in the US at the professional and college level, but has no international participation.
American football players wear helmets, and padding. The game is broken down into roughly 5-10 second plays at 30 second intervals with a spare team on the side lines for substitution. The game favors huge athletes who sprint into each other using their heads as battering rams. Most players get hit on every play because anyone can hit anyone whether or not they have the ball. The result has been epidemic of Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) a form of brain degeneration likely caused by repeated head traumas, similar to punch drunk boxers.
The college game has a huge following in the college towns and the alumni. It generates huge revenues, and the top coaches make more money than the heads of the University. The athletes get scholarships so are really enforced amateurs, while funding a significant portion of the university. The football program is a magnet for alumni funding. The status quo of coaches and colleges are making huge sums while extoling the virtues of the mythical student athlete.
The professional game has attempted to maintain equal opportunity using a salary cap, so that all teams have similar payroll. The athletes share a fixed percentage of team revenues. For the worst teams, there is no relegation to lower divisions, they get the first pick in next years draft of new athletes - equal opportunity and affirmative action in its most practical form.
It is safe to assume that games as entertainment they were part of quiet evenings around the camp fire, competition between families etc. throughout prehistory.
Board games have been played, traveled, and evolved in most cultures and societies throughout history.
The Royal Game of Ur is a two-player strategy race board game of the tables family that was first played in ancient Mesopotamia during the early third millennium BC. The game was popular across the Middle East among people of all social strata and boards for playing it have been found at locations as far away from Mesopotamia as Crete and Sri Lanka. One board, held by the British Museum, is dated to c. 2600 – c. 2400 BC, making it one of the oldest game boards in the world.
Several important historical sites, artifacts, and documents shed light on early board games such as Jiroft civilization game boards in Iran. Senet, found in Predynastic and First Dynasty burials of Egypt, c. 3500 BC and 3100 BC respectively, is the oldest board game known to have existed. Senet was pictured in a fresco painting found in Merknera's tomb (3300–2700 BC). Also from predynastic Egypt is mehen.
Tafl games (pronounced [tavl], also known as hnefatafl games) are a family of ancient Northern European strategy board games played on a checkered or latticed gameboard with two armies of uneven numbers. Most probably they are based upon the Roman game Ludus latrunculorum. Names of different variants of Tafl include Hnefatafl, Tablut, Tawlbwrdd, Brandubh, Ard Rí, and Alea Evangelii. Games in the tafl family were played in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, Britain, Ireland, and Sápmi. Tafl gaming was eventually supplanted by chess in the 12th century, but the tafl variant of the Sámi people, tablut, was in play until at least the 18th century.
The history of chess can be traced back nearly 1500 years to its earliest known predecessor, called chaturanga, in India; its prehistory is the subject of speculation. From India it spread to Persia. Following the Arab invasion and conquest of Persia, chess was taken up by the Muslim world and subsequently spread to Europe via Spain (Al Andalus) and Italy (Emirate of Sicily). The game evolved roughly into its current form by about 1500 CE.
A card game is any game using playing cards as the primary device with which the game is played, be they traditional or game-specific. Countless card games exist, including families of related games (such as poker). A small number of card games played with traditional decks have formally standardized rules with international tournaments being held, but most are folk games whose rules may vary by region, culture, location or from circle to circle.
Games using playing cards exploit the fact that cards are individually identifiable from one side only, so that each player knows only the cards they hold and not those held by anyone else. For this reason card games are often characterized as games of chance or "imperfect information"—as distinct from games of strategy or perfect information, where the current position is fully visible to all players throughout the game.
Poker is a family of gambling games in which players bet into a pool, called the pot, the value of which changes as the game progresses that the value of the hand they carry will beat all others according to the ranking system. Variants largely differ on how cards are dealt and the methods by which players can improve a hand. For many reasons, including its age and its popularity among Western militaries, it is one of the most universally known card games in existence.
The history of contract bridge, one of the world's most popular partnership card games, may be dated from the early 16th-century invention of trick-taking games such as whist. Bridge departed from whist with the creation of Biritch (or "Russian Whist") in the 19th century, and evolved through the late 19th and early 20th centuries to form the present game.