“A very interesting game is indulged in during an intermission, which is taken for rest and amusement combined. It is basket ball. A small wire basket is fastened to the wall on either end, about twelve feet from the floor.”
“Sides are chosen and each attempt to land a small rubber ball in the goal of the other team. The tactics involved in football are used with the exception that there is no kicking of the ball or tackling of players.” (Hawaiian Star, December 3, 1896)
“In the winter of 1891, Luther Gulick, the head of the physical education department at the YMCA Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts, persuaded a young instructor named James Naismith to create an indoor game that could be played during the off-season.” (Basketball Hall of Fame)
Gulick’s first intention was to bring outdoor games indoors, namely, soccer and lacrosse. These games proved too physical and cumbersome.
At his wits’ end, Naismith recalled a childhood game, that he had referred to as “Duck on a Rock”, that required players to use finesse and accuracy to become successful. (SONAHR)
Gulick and Naismith developed the game we now call Basketball. The first formal game was played on December 29, 1891.
That day, 18 men at the School for Christian Workers (later the International YMCA Training School, now Springfield College) in Springfield, Massachusetts played a match in the Armory Street court: 9-versus-9, using a soccer ball and two peach baskets. (SONAHR)
“A major force in the early development of the sport, Gulick oversaw Naismith’s creation of the game, led basketball’s move to the national and international level, and in 1895 became the chairman of the Basketball Rules Organization.”
“Among his other achievements, Gulick developed the YMCA triangle symbol (signifying the YMCA’s physical, emotional, and intellectual pursuits that still remain today), served on the Olympic Committee for the London Games in 1908 …”
“… and is credited with forming such notable youth organizations as the Public School Athletic Leagues (PSAL) in New York, the Boy Scouts and the Camp Fire Girls.” (Basketball Hall of Fame)
Luther Halsey Gulick was born on December 4, 1865 at Honolulu, Hawai‘i, the fifth of seven children of Congregationalist missionaries, Luther Halsey Gulick and Louisa Lewis Gulick.
Young Luther spent the first fifteen years of his life abroad in Hawai‘i, Spain, Italy and Japan. Upon return to the US in 1880, he enrolled in the preparatory department of Oberlin College until 1882.
Luther was enrolled in Hanover High School in Hanover, New Hampshire, from 1882 to 1883. In 1884, he returned to Oberlin, where he studied physical education.
However, plagued throughout his life with heart problems and chronic headaches, Gulick had to leave Oberlin due to illness in 1885. He resumed his education the same year, however, when he joined the Sargent School of Physical Training, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The following year, Gulick became a student at the Medical College at the City University of New York where he was awarded the MD in 1889. He married Charlotte Emily Vetter on August 30, 1887. Together they had six children, Louise, Frances, Charlotte, Katharine, Luther, and John Halsey.
Throughout his life and career, Luther Halsey Gulick was greatly interested in physical education and hygiene. He also kept himself intensely busy.
While pursuing his medical degree between 1886 and 1889, he began his career as the physical director of the Jackson, Michigan YMCA in 1886.
In 1887, Gulick became head of the gymnasium department of the Young Men’s Christian Education’s Springfield Training School. It was there, in 1891, that the game of basketball was created. (Winter)
“He was recognized as an authority upon physical training in the public schools and the author of many books on this subject. A series of lectures at the St Louis Exposition in 1904 won him international recognition as an expert in such matters.”
“He was Chairman of the international Committee on Physical Recreation of the War Work Council of the YMCA until he had to give it up on account pf his health.” (NYTimes)
Luther’s sibling Edward Leeds Gulick and his wife Harriet Marie Gulick settled in Vermont and started the “Aloha Camp” there in 1905.
Fifteen years before women were allowed to vote, when floor length skirts and lace up boots were mandatory for playing any sport; when popular conduct books for girls encouraged a “retiring delicacy” …
… and declared that “one of the most valuable things you can learn is how to become a good housewife” – Harriet and Edward Gulick created a world in which every girl could discover her most adventurous self.
Aloha Camp afforded young women the knowledge, skills and freedom to explore wild nature on foot and on horseback, by skiff and by canoe; to kindle campfires in the woods and cook meals in the open air; to pitch tents over rough ground and sleep out of doors under the stars.
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Fascinating people! It seems their being kids in Hawaii influenced their feelings about phys ed.