The First Game of Basketball

By Clare Mishica


     James Naismith had two weeks to find a new game. He worked as a gym teacher at a school for young men in Massachusetts. During the harsh winters, the students couldn't go outside to play football or baseball, but they didn't like indoor exercises. His boss told James to invent a new game, one that could be played in the gym.
     At first, James tried to find a way to play games like soccer and football inside. But his ideas didn't work well. When the ball was kicked indoors, the windows got broken. When the students tackled each other and fell on the hard gym floor, some arms and legs got broken! James needed to find a brand-new game that didn't require any kicking or tackling.
     James only had one day left to think of something. All at once, he remembered a game called "Duck on a Rock" that he'd played with his friends when he was a boy. They had thrown rocks and tried to knock a stone off the top of a boulder. The person who had the best aim won the game. The boys discovered that arching your toss improved your chances. James decided his new game should focus on skill and accuracy, too, not strength. Also, there shouldn't be lots of running because that encouraged tackling.