Us Poms get a hard time over here and in Australia for inventing games and then not being particularly good at them. Here in New Zealand with rugby, mainly but not exclusively and in Australia with cricket. Have people in other countries forgotten how good the British have been over the years at inventing games.
They are usually accredited with cricket and rugby and sometimes football and hockey although of course there is historical evidence back to the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans of people being involved in kicking an animal bladder around or hitting stones – or each other – with sticks. The British also claim credit to most of the racket sports; tennis, squash and badminton – along with table tennis. Though the French, how dare they, claim tennis as their own as they have evidence of bashing a ball with their bare hands back in the 12th century. Major Walter Clopton Wingfield, popped his own patent on the game in 1874 – so it was obviously him that invented the game.
On one website, I read that Britons invented boxing, as if people hadn’t been clenching their fists and bashing each other since we emerged from the swamp. In other words, the Poms have just invented the rules around games, claimed them as their own and then included them as part of their overall fully inclusive colonisation package.
Some countries wisely looked at the sports, changed the rules to suit themselves and in effect invented their own game. The Americans and Australians have been very good at this and are now World champions in their very own sports.
It seems that after Drake had despatched the Spaniards, after playing a nifty game of bowls on Plymouth Hoe in 1588 the British despite a few overseas efforts, never had to worry about invasion and after the civil war concentrated on inventing rules to build around games. This accelerated when Public (private) schools clearly had too much time and too many resources. Rugby School invented rugby of course and Harrow school invented squash. Maybe they just wanted to put bureaucracy around filling in time.
Now before you New Zealanders get too smug, how many games have you invented? Google came up with only two, bungy jumping and zorbing. Sorry, but they’re only past times principally invented to part punters from their cash. I did come up with something though you’d be pleased to claim credit for. Cantabrian William Atack in 1884 was the first person to use a whistle as a referee. If the (un)thinkable should happen tonight and over the next two weeks. Try not to blame the whistle – or the blower, as you may have in the past, historically that was your fault.