Local YMCA’s celebrate birth of basketball

TheYWEST CHESTER — In 1891, a YMCA program director named Luther Gulick asked James Naismith, a gym teacher at the YMCA Training School in Springfield, Mass., to invent a new indoor sport. Gulick wanted an activity to keep Y directors fit and limber during the winter months. After much trial and error, Naismith decided to hang two peach baskets from the bottom of an elevated running track, posted a list of 13 simple rules, and basketball was born.

The game quickly gained popularity nationwide. The first official rules were published in January 1892, and the rest is hoop history. 

Today, James Naismith would be amazed at what his “simple” game has become. Thanks to his imagination, terms like “March Madness,” and “Final Four” are part of America’s collective vocabulary.

“Basketball is such a great sport for kids and adults,” said Denise L. Day, President and CEO for YMCA of Greater Brandywine. “It’s fun, it teaches the values of good sportsmanship and teamwork, and it also provides an excellent form of exercise – all part of the Y’s goal of building healthy spirit, mind and body for all.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Olympic track star Jesse Owens and baseball legend Jackie Robinson, all honed their athletic skills and built friendships on YMCA basketball courts.

Naismith’s legacy lives on, with every NCAA tournament and at local YMCAs everywhere. “We’re proud to be part of a tradition that has a lasting impact on people’s lives,” Day said. “Today’s youth-league players may well be tomorrow’s champions — a wonderful testament to James Naismith and his imagination.”

YMCA of Greater Brandywine will celebrate the invention of basketball with special community events and a “Play now, pay later” membership offer. Free  family fun days ​in celebration of basketball ​will be held on Sunday, March 22 and 29 from noon to 3:00 pm for members and the community.

​Event locations: Brandywine Y, Coatesville; Jennersville Y, West Grove; Kennett Area Y, Kennett Square; Lionville Y, Exton; Upper Main Line Y, Berwyn and West Chester Area Y, West Chester. ​

For more information, visit www.ymcagbw.org.

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