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Centennial Monograph: Athletes and Sports in Maynard Town


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Centennial Monograph: Athletes and Sports in Maynard Town


A historical review of all manner of sports and games in Maynard


Birger Koski





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From the earliest times, man has engaged in various forms of more or less highly organized play activity. Athletic contests, whether for amusement and recreation, or as a means of training for the serious pursuits of life, have always been highly valued. Of recent vintage comparatively, is the need of sedentary man in a technologically advanced society to get exercise physically for purposes of health.

In our fair town, athletes and sports have always played a big part, much more so than in the farming communities adjacent to us, for the simple reason that we have been concentrated in a tiny geographical area centered around one industrial plant. Rubbing shoulders constantly with our neighbors, the natural desire for contests, games and feats of physical made Maynard a Mecca of sports and athletes that compared favorably with towns and cities manifold larger than itself . Another major reason for the diversity of sports was the diversity of our people - twenty-one different nationalities by 1905 were gathered within our confines with their multifarious sports from the old country.

Just to skim through a listing of sports and games played in Maynard Town since I87I is fascinating reading for it traces back our anthropological background very neatly. Billiards, ancient, but brought here by the English - Bowling. ancient. English &Scotch - Cards, ancient, English et al - Checkers, ancient, English - Cricket, English - Golf, originated in Holland and Belgium, played by both English and Scotch - Hockey, ancestry is Irish game of 'Shinty', and Scottish game 'Hurley' - Polo, Persian, brought here by English (we had Roller-Polo) ~ Tennis, English - Baseball, American, Cooperstown, N.Y., I839 - Basketball, American, I892 - Track & Field, Ancient Greeks, brought here by the Finns - Gymnastics, Ancient Greeks, Finnish -Checkers, Ancient, called draughts in England and Les Dames (the women) in France, English - Football, Ancient, our American form derived from the English in two forms, Soccer and Rugby Football -Calisthenics, Ancient Greek, Middle European and brought here by the Finns - Skating, French, English.

This monograph will exclude mention of Billiards, Bowling, Cards, Cricket, Golf, Checkers and Soccer, for separate papers have been written on these sports. We must also mention that factual information of Nineteenth Century Maynard sports is not handily at our finger-tips. We use information gleaned from the Maynard News up to 1930 - recollections of old timers which could be derelict.