This Day in History (9-Feb-1895) – The sport of volleyball is created in Massachusetts

William G. Morgan, joined as director of Physical Education at the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) in Holyoke, Massachusetts, USA. In this role he had the opportunity to establish, develop and direct a vast programme of exercises and sport classes for male adults. He came to realise that he needed a certain type of competitive recreational game in order to vary his programme. Basketball, a sport that was beginning to develop, seemed to suit young people, but it was necessary to find a less violent and less intense alternative for the older members. He decided to blend elements of basketball, baseball, tennis, handball and German game of Faustball  to create a game for his classes of businessmen which would demand less physical contact than basketball. He created the game of mintonette. Morgan borrowed the net from tennis, and raised it 6 feet 6 inches above the floor, just above the average man’s head.

Early in 1896 a conference was organized at the YMCA College in Springfield, bringing together all the YMCA Directors of Physical Education where Morgan was invited to make a demonstration of his game in the new college stadium. Morgan explained that the new game was designed for gymnasia or exercise halls, but could also be played in open air. An unlimited number of players could participate, the object of the game being to keep the ball in movement over a high net, from one side to the other. The name Volleyball came when a spectator commented that the game involved much “volleying” the ball back and forth over the net and game was renamed Volleyball.

In 1964, Volleyball was introduced to the Olympic Games in Tokyo. The beach volleyball was introduced in 1996 Atlanta Olympics. As per the data was provided by each of the International Sports Federations; on the estimates of participants in the sport worldwide (based on 2002 figures) ; volleyball ranks no. 1 with almost 1 billion  players. Volleyball is one of the big five international sports, and the FIVB (Federation Internationale De Volleyball), with its 220 affiliated national federations, is the largest international sporting federation in the world.

 

Reference:

http://www.mapsofworld.com/on-this-day/february-9-1959-the-first-intercontinental-ballistic-missile-becomes-operational

http://inventors.about.com/od/uvstartinventions/a/Vollyball.htm

http://www.volleyball.org/history.html

http://www.topendsports.com/world/lists/popular-sport/final.htm

http://www.fivb.org/en/volleyball/History.asp

https://www.sport-fitness-advisor.com/volleyball-training.html

 

This Day in History (25-Dec-1651) – Massachusetts General Court ordered a five shilling fine for “observing any such day as Christmas”

Puritanism was a religious reform movement in the late 16th and 17th centuries that sought to “purify” the Church of England of remnants of the Roman Catholic “popery”. They had firm views on religious holidays such as Christmas and Easter. Scripture did not name any holiday except the Sabbath, they argued, and the very concept of “holy days” implied that some days were not holy. “They for whom all days are holy can have no holiday,” was a common Puritan maxim.

Puritans did not like Christmas as it did not originate as a Christian holiday. The upper classes in ancient Rome celebrated Dec. 25 as the birthday of the sun god Mithra. The date fell right in the middle of Saturnalia, a monthlong holiday dedicated to food, drink, and revelry.  Pope Julius I is said to have chosen that day to celebrate Christ’s birth as a way of co-opting the pagan rituals. Beyond that, the Puritans considered it historically inaccurate to place the Messiah’s arrival on Dec. 25. They thought Jesus had been born sometime in September. Also during Christmas, as a ritual, the rich people offer drinks to poor causing them into bawdy drunkenness. Such decadence never impressed religious purists. “Men dishonor Christ more in the 12 days of Christmas,” wrote the 16th-century clergyman Hugh Latimer, “than in all the 12 months besides.”

Puritans in the English Parliament eliminated Christmas as a national holiday in 1645, amid widespread anti-Christmas sentiment. Settlers in New England (six states in Northeast part of USA including Massachusetts) went even further, outlawing Christmas celebrations entirely. Anyone caught shirking their work duties or feasting on Christmas day was forced to pay a significant penalty of five shillings. Christmas returned to England in 1660, but in New England it remained banned until the 1680s. Christmas Day was formally declared a federal holiday in US by President Ulysses S. Grant in 1870.

Reference:

 http://theweek.com/article/index/222676/when-americans-banned-christmas

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/484034/Puritanism

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puritan

This Day in History (16-Dec-1773) – Boston Tea Party

Since the beginning of the 18th century, tea had been regularly imported to the American colonies. It has been estimated American colonists drank approximately 1.2 million pounds of tea each year. Britain realized it could make even more money off of the lucrative tea trade by imposing taxes onto the American colonies. In effect, the cost of British tea became high, and, in response, American colonists began a very lucrative industry of smuggling tea from the Dutch and other European markets. In 1773, the Tea Act was passed and granted the British East India Company a monopoly on tea sales in the American colonies. American colonists were outraged over the tea tax. They believed the Tea Act was a tactic to gain colonial support for the tax already enforced. The direct sale of tea by agents of the British East India Company to the American colonies undercut the business of colonial merchants. The smuggled tea became more expensive than the British East India Company tea. Smugglers like John Hancock and Samuel Adams were trying to protect their economic interests by opposing the Tea Act, and Samuel Adams sold the opposition of British tea to the Patriots on the pretext of the abolishment of human rights by being taxed without representation.

In cities as New York, Philadelphia, and Charleston, tea agents resigned or canceled orders, and merchants refused consignments. In Boston, however, the royal governor Thomas Hutchinson determined to uphold the law and maintained that three arriving ships should be allowed to deposit their cargoes and that appropriate duties should be honoured. On the night of December 16, 1773, a group of about 60 men comprising of  Samuel Adams and the Sons of Liberty encouraged by a large crowd of Bostonians, donned blankets and Indian headdresses, marched to Griffin’s wharf, boarded the ships, and dumped the 342 tea chests, valued at £18,000 (about $1m today), into the water.

In retaliation, Parliament passed the series of punitive measures known in the colonies as the Intolerable Acts, including the Boston Port Bill, which shut off the city’s sea trade pending payment for the destroyed tea. The British government’s efforts to single out Massachusetts for punishment served only to unite the colonies and impel the drift toward war.

Reference:

http://www.bostonteapartyship.com/boston-tea-party-facts

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/74947/Boston-Tea-Party

http://www.history.com/topics/american-revolution/boston-tea-party

This Day in History (28-Jul-1945) – Plane crashes into Empire State Building

The B-25 Mitchell bomber, with Colonel William Smith as a pilot and two more personnel aboard, was flying from New Bedford, Massachusetts, to LaGuardia Airport in New York City. As it came into the metropolitan area on that Saturday morning, the fog was particularly thick. Air-traffic controllers instructed the plane to fly to Newark Airport instead. The last transmission from the LaGuardia tower to the plane was a foreboding warning: “From where I’m sitting, I can’t see the top of the Empire State Building.” Confronted with dense fog, pilot dropped the bomber low to regain visibility, where Smith found himself in the middle of Manhattan, surrounded by skyscrapers. At first, the bomber was headed directly for the New York Central Building but at the last minute, Smith was able to bank west and miss it. Unfortunately, this put him in line for another skyscraper. Smith managed to miss several skyscrapers until he was headed for the Empire State Building. At the last minute, Smith tried to get the bomber to climb and twist away, but it was too late. At 9:49 a.m., the ten-ton, B-25 bomber smashed into the north side of the Empire State Building, near the 79th floor.

Upon impact, the plane’s jet fuel exploded, filling the interior of the building with flames all the way down to the 75th floor and sending flames out of the hole the plane had ripped open in the building’s side. One engine from the plane went straight through the building and landed in a penthouse apartment across the street. Other plane parts ended up embedded in and on top of nearby buildings. The other engine snapped an elevator cable while at least one woman was riding in the elevator car. The emergency auto brake saved the woman from crashing to the bottom, but the engine fell down the shaft and landed on top of it. Quick-thinking rescuers pulled the woman from the elevator, saving her life. Since it was a Saturday, fewer workers than normal were in the building. Only 11 people in the building were killed, some suffering burns from the fiery jet fuel and others after being thrown out of the building. The three people on the plane were also killed. An 18 foot by 20 foot hole was left in the side of the Empire State Building.  However its structural integrity was not affected.

 

Reference:

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/plane-crashes-into-empire-state-building

http://history1900s.about.com/od/1940s/a/empirecrash.htm

This Day in History (24-May-1830) – “Mary Had A Little Lamb,” is published

The nursery rhyme, ‘Mary had a little lamb’ was first published by the Boston publishing firm Marsh, Capen & Lyon, as an original poem by Sarah Josepha Hale on May 24, 1830, and was inspired by an actual incident.

As a young girl, Mary Sawyer (later Mrs. Mary Tyler) kept a pet lamb, which she took to school one day at the suggestion of her brother. A commotion naturally ensued. Visiting school that morning was a young man by the name of John Roulstone, a nephew of the Reverend Lemuel Capen, who was then settled in Sterling. The young man was very much pleased with the incident of the lamb; and the next day he rode across the fields on horseback to the little old schoolhouse and handed Mary a slip of paper which had written upon it the three original stanzas of the poem.

The Redstone School built in 1798, believed to be the school house mentioned in the rhyme, is now located in Sudbury, Massachusetts. In Sterling, Massachusetts, a statue representing Mary’s Little Lamb stands in the town center. The rhyme is also famous for being the very first thing recorded by Thomas Edison on his newly invented phonograph in 1877.  It was the first instance of recorded verse. In 1927 Edison re-enacted the recording which still survives.

It was reported in a 1902 edition of the New York Times Book Review that when Dr Lowell Mason introduced singing into Boston schools in 1827 he asked noted writers to contribute songs and rhymes, and one of the contributors was Sarah Josepha Hale (1788–1879), who supplied ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’.

 

Reference:

http://www.historyorb.com/day/may/24

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Had_a_Little_Lamb

http://makingmusicfun.net/htm/f_mmf_music_library_songbook/mary-had-a-little-lamb-history-and-lyrics.htm

http://albertjackchat.com/tag/origin-of-mary-had-a-little-lamb/