The Birth of a Culture: Fire Starters.
How started your love for football? Who was the fire starter that ignited your passion? In my case, it was my dog! My earliest memory as a human being is of staring out the living room window and gazing upon the garden. Amidst the lush greenery stood a giant German Shepherd and a ball. My grandmother took me outside to play and without hesitation, I sprinted towards the ball, the dog did it too. That was it! He became my teammate, rival, training partner, and best friend. Dribbling past a big, fast dog was my first personal challenge and the beginning of my love for football. Little did I know, those early days with my doggo would lead to a lifetime of crazy adventures through the beautiful game.
In memory of my handsome and beloved Bob. Legend of a dog, legend of a baller. The Godfather of canine football.
But how did it all begin? How did football, this thing that drives us all so wild, come to be? I won't delve into the ancient origins, tracing the first instances when people first had the primal instinct to kick a round object. Instead, I'll focus on the more recent history, when football truly became a sport.
Before the decade of 1880, the game of football was in its infancy, with many different versions being played in various parts of the world.
We can identify the decades from 1840 to 1860 as the first period when football underwent its first major shift towards professionalization, moving away from its amateur roots and becoming more organized and structured.
Welcome to our first blog entry! We will explore the early formative years of football, examining the significant events and factors that shaped the sport. We will also delve into the cultural and societal context of the era, including advancements in technology, media, art, and other sports, in order to gain a deeper understanding of the time period and the larger context in which football was developing.
The place where the first football culture was created.
REMEMBER THE NAME
I would like to start paying tribute to Nathaniel Creswick and William Prest, known as the godfathers of football, with the utmost admiration. Hails to the Godfathers! These pioneers in the development of the sport played a crucial role in establishing football as a popular and organized activity through their efforts as founders of the Sheffield Football Club, the world's first football club.
Their story is an inspiration to anyone looking to start something new. It is incredible that the drive and energy of a handful of people ignited a whole generation that helped to establish football as the world's largest sport after a few years. A true testament to the power of hard work and dedication that serves as a reminder of what can be achieved when we take action.
THE FIRST MOVE TOWARDS FOOTBALL PROFESSIONALIZATION
The Cambridge Rules were created in 1848, and they are considered to be an important early step in the development of modern soccer. The rules, which were drawn up by members of Cambridge University, standardized many aspects of the game. In 1849, official referees appeared for the first time in a football match at a match held in Cheltenham. This marked the beginning of the use of referees in the sport, and it helped to establish some of the basic principles of fair play.
WHAT WAS GOING ON IN THE WORLD IN 1848 & 1849?
The Revolutions of 1848, which saw widespread political upheaval and social unrest in many parts of Europe. The revolutions were fueled by a variety of factors, including economic inequality, political repression, and the desire for greater democracy and social justice.
The publication of "The Communist Manifesto" by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, which would have a major impact on the global economy and political landscape in the years that followed.
The founding of the New York Daily Times, which would later become the New York Times, in 1851.
The signing of the Treaty of Milan in 1848, which ended the Italian Wars of Independence and established the modern Italian state.
The signing of the Treaty of Lahore in 1849, which ended the Second Anglo-Sikh War and established British control over much of modern-day India.
The California Gold Rush, which began in 1848 and led to a significant influx of people and capital to the region. The gold rush had a major impact on the culture and economy of California, and it helped to shape the state's identity.
ROCKSTARS OF THE DECADE
The concept of "celebrity" as we know it today did not yet exist. The means of communication and mass media were not yet developed (cheers for the good old days!). However, there were notable figures of the time whose names were well-known to the general public.
THE FIRST FOOTBALL CLUB
Sheffield F.C. is the oldest surviving independent football club in the world, having been founded in 1857.
The club played a significant role in the development of the rules and regulations of football and helped to establish the sport as a popular and organized activity. Sheffield Football Club was also instrumental in the establishment of the Football Association, which is the governing body of football in England.
Over the years, Sheffield F.C. has faced many challenges and setbacks, but it has always managed to persevere and remain a vital part of the football community. Today, the club still have a dedicated membership base.
CAMBRIDGE RULES VS. SHEFFIELD RULES
In 1858, appeared the Sheffield Rules. These rules helped to standardize the game and establish some of the basic principles that are still followed today. Even though both the Cambridge Ruled and the Sheffield Rules were based on similar principles and shared many similarities, there were also some key differences between the two sets of rules:
1. Back in the day, being a goalkeeper was a thankless job, and it seems not much has changed. I mean, who wants to be a goalkepper? But, we still appreciate the weird ones that stand in front of the goal. The Cambridge Rules didn't even bother to assign a proper position and the Sheffield Rules said "Alright, you can stand there and try to stop the ball." and that how the position was created.
Thanks strange people, we love you!
2. The Cambridge Rules did not have a formal system for dealing with fouls and relied on the players themselves to resolve disputes, while the Sheffield Rules introduced a system of free kicks and penalties for certain types of fouls.
3. The Cambridge Rules allowed for the use of both hands and feet to control the ball, while the Sheffield Rules prohibited the use of hands and required players to use their feet only.
4. The Cambridge Rules did not have a specific field size or shape, while the Sheffield Rules specified the dimensions of the field and required it to be rectangular in shape.
5. The Cambridge Rules did not have a specific number of players per team, while the Sheffield Rules specified that each team should consist of 11 players.
6. The Cambridge Rules did not have a specific goal size or shape, while the Sheffield Rules specified the dimensions of the goal and required it to be rectangular in shape.
7. The Cambridge Rules did not have a specific offside rule, while the Sheffield Rules introduced the concept of the offside rule, which is still used in football today.
8. The Cambridge Rules did not have a specific duration for a match, while the Sheffield Rules specified that a match should last 90 minutes.
The Sheffield Rules were widely adopted by other clubs and schools, and they played a key role in the early organization, the development of the game and the culture of the sport itself.
A DIVE IN THE ERA
During the mid-19th century, while football was just starting to take some shape, the world was undergoing significant cultural, and social changes. Advances in technology, such as the development of the telegraph and the introduction of the steam engine, were transforming the way people lived and worked.
Immerse yourself in the world of 1840 - 1860 with the following highlights:
The invention of the telegraph in the mid-19th century was a major technological advancement that revolutionized the way people communicated. It allowed for almost instantaneous communication over long distances, greatly improving the speed and efficiency of information transmission.
MEDIA & INFORMATION
Books: "The Origin of Species" by Charles Darwin, "Silas Marner" by George Eliot.
Magazines: "Harper's Weekly," "The Atlantic Monthly," "Punch"
Newspapers: "The New York Times," "The Times of London," "Le Figaro"
TUNES OF THE TIME
"Dixie´s Land" - by Daniel Emmet. It became one of the most well-known songs of the American Civil War.
"Camptown Races" - by Stephen Foster in 1850.
"The Yellow Rose of Texas" - This popular song, which tells the story of a beautiful woman named Emily Morgan, was composed in the 1850s and remained popular throughout the 1860s. It has since been covered by numerous artists.
"Aura Lee" - Also known as "Love Me Tender" By George R. Poulton and W. W. Fosdick in 1861. It was a popular song during the Civil War.
"Oh! Susanna" - by Stephen Foster in 1848, "Oh! Susanna" was a popular song during the 1850s and 1860s and remains well-known today.
Abraham Lincoln: The 16th President of the United States and one of the country's greatest leaders, known for his role in abolishing slavery.
Queen Victoria: The Queen of the United Kingdom and the British Empire from 1837 to 1901, and one of the most influential monarchs of her time.
Charles Dickens: An English writer whose novels, such as "Oliver Twist" and "Great Expectations," are considered classics of English literature.
William Lloyd Garrison: An American abolitionist and journalist who played a key role in the abolitionist movement and the fight for civil rights.
Frederick Douglass: An African American abolitionist, writer, and statesman who was a leading voice for the abolition of slavery and civil rights for black Americans.
Louis Daguerre: A French artist and inventor who developed the daguerreotype, a pioneering form of photography.
Henry David Thoreau: An American writer and philosopher whose works, such as "Walden," had a significant impact on the development of modern environmentalism.
Sojourner Truth: An African American abolitionist and women's rights activist who was a prominent figure in the abolitionist and suffrage movements.
Elizabeth Blackwell: The first woman to receive a medical degree in the United States and a pioneering figure in the field of medicine.
Fyodor Dostoevsky: A Russian novelist and philosopher whose works, such as "Crime and Punishment" and "The Brothers Karamazov," are considered to be among the greatest in world literature.
The Desperate Man (Self-Portrait) - Gustave Courbet
There were several important artistic movements and styles that were prominent during the decades of 1840 to 1860. However, when football begins to emerge, the predominant style is Realism.
Realism was an artistic movement that emerged in the mid-19th century and sought to depict the world as it really was, rather than idealizing it or romanticizing it. It was characterized by a focus on everyday life and ordinary people, and it was influential in the development of modern art and literature.
Important figures in the Realist art movement were Gustave Courbet, Honore Daumier, and Jean-Francois Millet.
The First Opium War (1839-1842) between the Qing Dynasty of China and the British Empire.
The Great Famine in Ireland (1845-1852) which led to mass emigration.
The Mexican-American War (1846-1848) which resulted in the United States acquiring large territories from Mexico.
The 1848 Revolutions which spread throughout Europe and led to the end of several monarchies.
The Indian Rebellion of 1857 which marked the beginning of the end of British rule in India.
The American Civil War (1861-1865) which was fought over the issue of slavery.
The Taiping Rebellion (1850-1864) in China, which was one of the deadliest wars in human history.
The Crimean War (1853-1856) which was fought between the Russian Empire and an alliance of the Ottoman Empire, France, and the United Kingdom.
Cricket: A popular sport in many parts of the world, particularly in the British Empire.
Horse racing: Many famous horse races, such as the Kentucky Derby, were established during this time.
Baseball: It was becoming increasingly popular during the 1840s and 1850s, and the first professional baseball team was established in 1869.
Boxing: It was a popular sport during this time, and some of the earliest recorded boxing matches took place during the 1840s.
Amid the turbulent political and social landscape of the 19th century, football emerged as a beacon of hope and unity. As revolutions swept across Europe and other parts of the world, the beautiful game provided a much-needed outlet for people to come together and find common ground. At the same time, the arts and media flourished, with the publication of groundbreaking works and the establishment of major newspapers and magazines. Football and the arts provided a sense of stability and community in a time of great uncertainty and change.
As Nathaniel Creswick and William Prest worked to professionalize football and lay the foundations for the sport's global popularity, George Eliot's novel "Silas Marner" was also making an impact on the world, exploring themes of redemption, love, identity and the power of community. Both football and "Silas Marner" illustrate the way in which relationships can bring people together and inspire them to achieve great things.
It's remarkable how these two seemingly unrelated events, one in the world of sports and the other in the world of literature, both hold a deeper significance that goes beyond their surface-level differences capturing the spirit of a time when society was in need of unity and a sense of belonging.
Football and "Silas Marner" speak to the human condition reminding us that the human experience is one of connection, and that our relationships shape who we are and how we see the world. They were not just isolated events, they were markers of a cultural shift towards a greater emphasis on the importance of community and belonging.
Join me next week for a new blog series on the history of soccer and its first arrival to South America.
Gabriel Valarezo - No Limits Collective 360