But basketball was probably Naismith's best idea, and certainly his best one involving children. From the New York Times:
â‡¥â‡¥A minister as well as a medical doctor, he quickly realized that taller players had an advantage in basketball and wondered if there was a way to stretch babies to make them grow taller. Naismith actually conducted experiments on a machine he invented.â‡¥â‡¥
â‡¥â‡¥In 1907, he said his theory was that “the body is more or less elastic” and that “by stretching the body 30 minutes a day for six months, it will lengthen two inches.”â‡¥â‡¥â‡¥â‡¥â‡¥
â‡¥â‡¥He thought the best time to stretch individuals was from 5 months to a year old. He was worried that an individual might grow too quickly, and there would be no way to stop it from happening.â‡¥â‡¥
Talk about progressive: Naismith was trying to create a homeopathic means of making children bigger almost a century before athletes started taking HGH like Flintstones vitamins!
The article also mentions that Naismith invented an early Breathalyzer (which he tried on himself, of course), had ideas about making a shot from longer distance worth more points in his sport, and never wrapped his mind around the idea that automobiles don't stop when you say "whoa."
In retrospect, it's probably a good thing he didn't contribute to the advancement of baseball. I'm not sure our society could take revelations that Honus Wagner's career was tainted by one of Naismith's kooky inventions. Learning that Barry Bonds probably wasn't on the up-and-up is enough dream-shattering for one country.
(HT: The Dagger.)â†µ
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