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Softball Finds a Place of Its Own



Softball Finds a Place of Its Own
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.8

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    companionship, undersized, popularity, traditional, passion, fans, milled, version, group, boxing, status, newly, tournament, softball, equipment, lines
     content words:    Thanksgiving Day, Farragut Boat Club, George Hancock, Now Hancock, West Division High School, Spalding Indoor Baseball Guide, Summer Olympic Games, Olympic Committee


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Softball Finds a Place of Its Own
By Jane Runyon
  

1     A group of about twenty young men gathered together on Thanksgiving Day 1887. They were at the Farragut Boat Club in Chicago, Illinois, waiting to hear who had won the traditional football game between Harvard and Yale. The telegraph company would deliver the results to the waiting crowd. When the news arrived, it was good for some of the young men and bad for the rest. Yale had won the game. Not wanting to end the companionship they had shared that day, many of the young men milled around the gymnasium area of the club. One young man picked up a boxing glove that lay on the floor. He tossed it towards another fellow holding a pole. Instinctively, the man with the pole swung at the leather glove. George Hancock, who was one of the group, gleefully shouted, "Let's play ball." He rolled the boxing glove up and tied it so that it resembled a ball. He got some chalk and marked off bases like you would find on a baseball field. The diamond was much smaller than a baseball diamond due to the fact it was inside a much smaller area. He then picked up a broom handle and handed it to the batter. The young men had a terrific time playing baseball indoors for the rest of the afternoon.
 
2     The new game was such a success with the group that just a week later Hancock returned to the club with improved equipment for the game. He had developed an oversized ball, an undersized, rubber-tipped bat, and had painted permanent lines on the floor of the gymnasium. He even wrote a set of rules for his newly invented game of "indoor baseball."
 
3     Indoor baseball was an instant hit. It became so popular that the following spring, the game was moved outdoors. The playing field was smaller than a baseball field. Now Hancock had to write and publish a new set of rules that would cover an indoor/outdoor version of the game.

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