Invent your own sports

Do you ever wonder how sports came to be played the way they are today? Who came up with the idea? Who made the rules? Why are the rules like that?

Children, and adults for that matter, have long been fond of kicking around stones and loose objects, and for thousands of years, all around the globe, people found enjoyment in kicking things around, kicking them to each other, kicking them at targets or between posts. Organized matches were arranged between different groups of friends to see how many times they could kick an object between posts. Sometimes whole towns and villages would come out to play, and hundreds of people would end up in a huge brawl, trying to kick something between two other things (incidentally, brawling has a long history as one of mankind’s favorite pastimes, too).

One day, in a meeting in Cambridge, England, groups of schoolboys from the top fee-paying schools held a meeting to settle the rules of this game they called “football”. It was decided, among other things, that both teams would have to have the same number of players – eleven, to be precise, and that the playing area would have to be within certain specifications and so on. These rules were later built on by the boys and other organizations, which came together as the ‘Football Association’, and their sport became known as ‘Association Football’, or ‘soccer’ for short.

The boys from one particular school found it quite difficult to kick the ball – which was actually an inflated pig’s bladder – in a straight line to each other. During one game, they decided to unilaterally change the rules and picked up the ball, ran all the way to the goal line and touched the ball down on the other side. These were the boys from Rugby school, who quickly found they needed to convince other teams to play their ‘Rugby Football’ rules. Thankfully, Rugby football did catch on among those who had little joy at soccer, and spread from England to her colonies and other countries, where locals continued to change the rules around, and ended up spawning Australian Rules Football and American Football.

You can see a similar history with all kinds of sports – boxing, tennis, baseball, cycling, Formula One, Nascar – they have all evolved from simple beginnings. So, here’s hope for anyone who has always thought of themselves as being useless at sports – you can change the rules to suit yourself and just say you’ve invented a new sport!

Take, say, a guy who has been running distance track his whole life but has never finished anywhere near the front pack. One day, he’s taking part in a charity race and sees he’s losing ground on those at the front, yet again. He’s determined not to end up finishing nowhere to be seen again, but then notices an elderly lady, who has just come out of Wallmart, stepped off her Segway, and is loading up her trunk in the parking lot. So, without realizing what he’s doing, our hero bounds over in her direction and jumps on her Segway and drives it right back into the race. Before long, he’s at the front of the pack, being cheered on as he wins his first ever race, and in doing so invents the new sport of Segway half-marathons.

Before you know it, fans are all over sites like, desperate to get themselves a Segway clone so they can take up this awesome new sport. Of course there are the traditionalists, who mock the new sport and its participants, much in the way that followers of Association Football mock those who love American football – but Segway half-marathons gain popularity, get major sponsorship and TV time. Before you know it, the nation is glued to their screens following the new sport.

All it takes is that moment of inspiration. Keep doing what you’ve always done, but if you feel that something needs to change, do it. Think about it – without the boxer who decided to boot his opponent in the face, would we ever have come to love MMA? If it wasn’t for people resting their clutter on tables, would table-tennis ever have evolved into tennis?