General | May 22, 2024

Who Invented the Kickball

You probably remember kickball as a gym class favorite way back in your elementary school days. These days, kickball continues to be just as popular among young adults as it is with kids. If you’ve ever been curious about how the game of kickball got started, keep reading. The history of kickball is quite exciting, and it can help you enjoy the game even more.

Who Invented the Game of Kickball?
Though the exact year is unsure, a man by the name of Nicholas C. Seuss, who was working as the supervisor at the Cincinnati Park Playgrounds in Ohio, invented kickball. Experts believe the year to be 1917. This was the year when Seuss carefully detailed the game in his book The Playground Book. When it was originally invented, it was known as “kick baseball.” A few years later, kickball was adopted into the curriculum of education by physical education teachers nationwide as an introduction to playing the most American sport of them all – baseball.

The First Record of Adults Playing Kickball
A couple of years after Seuss published his book, Daniel Chase, the Supervisor of Physical Education for the New York Department of Education, published the first account of adults playing the sport. Apparently, the players had no ball, so they got resourceful and created one out of an old stocking, which they stuffed with rags and tied with shoelaces.
Following this, additional accounts of adult kickball players were published. Ernie Pyle, an American World War II correspondent, said that soldiers played it regularly in Tunisia between 1942 and 1943. After this observation, the United States Department of the Army decided to promote kickball as a game for soldiers, but their version was a bit different. In it, every single kick had to be a home run. In the US, adult kickball leagues started forming regularly in the 1970s, and the game has continued to grow in popularity since then.

The First Actual Ball
No one is sure who designed the first “kickball” as we know it today. Back in the early 1900s, kids had access to many different types of balls, and they likely used leather-wrapped balls, as in Nicholas Seuss’s day. This is quite different from the standard red rubber ball that we use today, which has far more bounce so as not to injure people when speeding through the air.

We know Kickball is over 100 years old, but it’s entirely possible that someone played a primitive version centuries before Seuss documented it. No matter who invented it or when it was first played, it remains an incredibly popular sport among young adults in Boston and nationwide.