Dribbling with Naismith


James Naismith, born November 6, 1861, Almonte, Ontario, Canada we gave him a rising of Virgo 02, [HS] Children gathering fruit, rather apropos for a man who first used peach baskets for hoops. His proposed chart with Uranus in the 10th 15 Gemini 31 Rx shows how the individual came up with something that would develop the skills of the group. With a grand trine in earth dominating his chart, Dr. Naismith is a splash temperament type where he uses all his personal experience and knowledge for the public good (all the socially relevant planets are in the south).

As a Presbyterian minister, Naismith was recruitedby International Young Men’s Christian Association Training School, in 1891

. Once on board, Luther Halsey Gulick, Jr., head of the Physical Education Department told him to invent winter non-contact sport that would replace the boring calisthenics used at the school during the winter, As a former athlete, Naismith relished the challenge though during the long incubation period questioned whether it was possible.

Eventually Naismith selected felt that field hockey, and cricket, sports without body contact were the foundation, but without a scoring mechanism he saw that the idea was doomed. His original team was 9 men for each side and it was via someone throwing something into a wastebasket that gave him the mechanism of shooting into baskets. Indeed, the first games employed half-bushel peach baskets as targets, after hatboxes did not prove sturdy enough, and they needed a stepladder to retrieve the ball after the infrequent goals.

His original prohibitions of walking or running with the ball in one’s arms like football are still the basis of a game that spread throughout the world. A few years later, his wife asked him to modify the setup for women.

As the Y could not fully renumerate him for his work, or even promote it, in 1898 Naismith went to the Gross Medical College, Denver, Colorado, now the University of Colorado School of Medicine.Here he worked on refining the sport, toying with knee pads and getting a medical degree to understand human physiology.

For the next 40 years he was chairman of the physical education department at the University of Kansas, Lawrence, where he also coached basketball until 1908. Besides basketball, they credit him with inventing the protective helmet for football players.

He died November 28th 1939, in Lawrence Kansas.

Footnotes:

  1. Rains, Rob, Naismith: the Man who Invented Basketball, Philadelphia, PA, Temple University, c. 2009

james naismith.pdf

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