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Random Sports Origins

May 9, 2016

More answers to the burning question, “Where does all this sports stuff come from?”
Random sports origins

THE FOOTBALL HUDDLE

“In 1924 Herb McCracken, the coach of the Lafayette College football team, discovered that his hand signals [flashed to players during the game] had been scouted and decoded by Penn, his upcoming opponent. On game day, McCracken countered by ordering his players to gather en masse, several yards behind the line of scrimmage, and talk over the plays in a whisper. It immediately became a ritual.” McCracken later helped start the Scholastic publishing company, “but told family members that he was most proud of giving birth to the huddle.” (New York Times)

BASEBALL’S MVP AWARD baseball mvp award

The award started out as an effort to publicize a now-forgotten car called the Chalmers: “Hugh Chalmers announced in 1910 that he would give a car to the champion batters of each league. He was delighted when Ty Cobb, a Detroiter, won the American League championship. But his elation turned to fury when Cobb promptly sold his prize.” (Wheels of a Nation)

THE JOCKSTRAP BIKE jockstrap ad

“Millions of male athletes can thank bicycling—and the cobblestone streets of Boston—for the truss that protects their masculinity. In 1897 those bumpy Beantown byways got too rough for the nether regions of bike racers. To address this unexpected need, the BIKE manufacturing company invented the ‘bicycle jockey strap’—eventually shortened to ‘jock.’” (Bicycling magazine)

ADIDAS adidas

“Adolf and Rudolf Dassler were the sons of a poor laundress who grew up in the tiny German milltown of Herzogenerauch, near Nuremburg. Before World War II, they started a factory there called Adidas to make house slippers, then branched out to track and soccer shoes. They had a violent falling-out, and after the war went their separate ways. Rudolf left Adidas and started a rival athletic shoe company, Puma. Before long Adidas and Puma— both headquartered in Herzogenerauch—were battling head-tohead all over the world. When Adolf died in 1978, the two brothers hadn’t spoken to each other in 29 years.” (Everybody’s Business)
Uncle John's Bathroom Reader Sports Spectacular

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