Good morning and welcome to Summit Up, the world's only daily column that's mad. That's "mad" in the crazy sense, and it's all due to March Madness.
That's right, we here at the Summit Up HQ have our own challenge going on amongst colleagues. Talk around the office has been nothing but brackets and team and player stats lately. Of course, we've had the inevitable "how to choose the best bracket" discussion. The more seasoned of us have been following teams from season to season and can easily rattle off names of players and coaches and recall the wins, picks and histories of the teams involved. Others are playing for the very first time, and others are willing to risk quadrillion-to-one odds that they might win it all and impress their colleagues with their clairvoyant abilities and fantastically accurate sports knowledge (suuuure).
So what exactly is the best way to pick teams? Some follow the numbers; others, the players. Some ask creative questions, such as which team mascot would win in a fight? However you do it, that moment is over. Now is the time to sit back, watch the games, cheer as your picks rise through the rankings or shake your fist as they lose and ruin carefully planned bracket sections. (We were sure New Mexico was going to beat out those nerds at Harvard! How on earth could Illinois' Fighting Illini defeat Colorado's Buffaloes? A buffalo would crush a human, from Illinois or not!)
All this talk about basketball got us to thinking - how exactly did this sport come about? According to the great and powerful Internet, the game of basketball was invented by a Canadian! What? Apparently, James Naismith, born in Ontario and educated in Montreal, created the sport in 1891.
The first games of the sport included use of a soccer ball and a peach basket. It took nearly 10 years before the basket became the open-ended net that we know today. So, they just climbed up to the basket each time they scored? Was that a punishment for the team that had just been scored upon? How long did these games take?
The very first game also included a grand total of 13 rules. We're sure plenty of referees would prefer that to the large manuals they have to memorize today.
Early games, spread by players from the United States and Canada, were also played in France, China, India, Japan and Persia. Clearly, they ended up being not all that popular in any of those places, but good job for trying, guys.
The first organized college game was played between Geneva College and the New Brighton YMCA in 1893, during which Geneva routed New Brighton with a resounding score of 3 -0.
Not only has basketball risen to become one of the most popular sports in America, it gave rise to the great and beloved game of HORSE. Many of us have spent entire P.E. periods in school at this noble pastime, trying desperately to remain cool, detached and in control to keep your score at "H" while simultaneously jumping, waving arms and shouting to force your opponents into "HORSE." Truly, basketball is a sport that has given us much over the years. Think on it and cross your fingers for the next round.