Thursday, August 9, 2012

OK, I haven’t run out of things to talk about. I just find some very simple things lately interesting and today I find the ball interesting. It is a simple round thing that we all seem to have fun with pretty much from the day we are born. I also found another geek a Harvard educated anthropologist who thought the question of why we play with a ball is interesting. The difference is that he chose to write a 300 page book about it called The Ball and he is John Fox.
Now the book is being turned into a documentary called Bounce. It turns out that people have decided that playing with a ball is good for you and is a universal choice of use all over the world. From one’s first connection with a ball, there seems to be a comfort zone perhaps from the bouncing rhythm or just the smoothness of holding a ball. Even with a young child, one of the first forms of communication is rolling a ball to the child and having that child pass it back to you.
Why should an object hold a place in our heart? Well studies say a ball really holds a place in our brains. Playing ball gives us an intellectual, moral, emotional and physical benefit. Playing ball has been proven to both improve both our cognitive and social skills. Studies performed on lab rats that did not play with a ball showed that they grew up mentally slow and socially awkward. Even when given a choice we would take a ball to toss around more than any other toy just like dolphins prefer.
It has been around for thousands of years. The Pharaohs of Egypt played an ancient form of ball and it was the Mayans using the rubber tree who first gave the ball its bounce. When the Spanish arrived and saw the Indians playing with this incredible object bouncing they thought it was possessed by demons. They had never seen rubber before.
The Europeans were used to a leather ball called a pigskin. The first football games from Medieval England is still being played on the Scottish Islands today. It is an awful mob scene of villagers trying to bring back the ball to home turf. The game or brawl however you see it, had only one rule. The mob rules. The game was banned by English kings nine times during the 14th Century because it was so destructive to property and people’s lives. Cool Dude!!!
People were trampled, windows were broken and was viewed as a hazard to all humanity. No matter the game, the ball wasn’t that easy to come by. Take Baseball for instance, the early ones were made by anything round and had just enough bounce. However the ball was made, it made great heroes for all ages. From Babe Ruth to Payton Manning or from David Beckham to Michael Jordan, we got heroes on the fields and courts to admire their ball skills.
A very confused hero was the Boston Celtics Bob Cousy. He was known as the Houdini of the hardwood for his skills to escape other players on the court. He is now 83 years old and upon looking back, he said the ball took him places he never would have gone. It led to him being able to travel everywhere. He was invited to the White House by six sitting Presidents because of his relationship with the ball.
Even our current President Obama put in the White House a basketball hoop. He says the ball helps him with the weight of the office on him. So, we all need a stress reliever. Some people just squeeze a ball at their desks at the office to relieve stress. We all had an experience with a ball good or bad somehow it hit us in the face and humbled us. So, go get a ball and have a ball with it. 

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