Origin Of Field Hockey
What is the origin of field hockey? Is it a surprise that one of the more enjoyable games to watch, as well as play, such as field hockey has ancient roots? Well, apparently humans the world over have been playing some form of field hockey since the dawn of modern civilizations. Using a stick to slap a ball around is probably one of the easiest sports to conceive. No, not baseball, but field hockey. A group of guys using a stick to slap a ball just doesn't seem to be all that difficult to come up with, but from its simple origins, field hockey has grown into a world wide addiction. Here is the history of field hockey.
The funny thing is, early forms of field hockey have been found in all areas of the world. From the early Egyptians and Persians to the Aztec Indians, all ancient societies seem to have a version of field hockey, though, the modern game of field hockey is probably more closely related to the Egyptian or Persian game.
It isn't until 1527 in Ireland that any reference to the modern game of field hockey can be found. According to the Irish Galway Statutes, "(...) the horlinge of the litill balle with hockie stickes or staves" was their field hockey. The original game was known as "hurley" and the term hockey is used very casually in the statutes. This suggests that this form of field hockey had been in existence for a while. The Scotts called the game "shinny." At this point during the history of field hockey, there wasn't really an organized set of teams, rules, or even a name. The only universal trait from all forms of the game was of course, the stick and ball.
It's not until sometime in the mid nineteenth century that evidence of organized teams and leagues are shown to have existed. On Christmas day, 1821, the Club of True Highlanders, an organization of Scottish emigres living in and near London in the early 19th century and led by a piper, marched to Blackheath Common in southeast London to play a game of shinty. Apparently, this game became an annual occurrence.
By 1862, the modern form of field hockey was created into a school sport, allowing no more than 30 players per team on the field at once. Finally in 1868, the first formal rules were drawn up in Eton.
In 1871, the London Hockey Club was founded, and by 1875, they'd rewritten the rules to have fifteen man teams playing on 200 yard fields. They also drew up the rules for proper stick usage that you see today.
The final modifications to the rules were made in 1886, when the Wimbledon Hockey Club and Teddington Cricket Club started a New Hockey Association. Oh, they decided to cut the field in half and made it so teams could only have eleven players at a time on the field.