My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is a fun, and oddly informative book! The research it must have taken to find the earliest rules sets for such a variety of sports, including nontraditional “sports”… labor of love…
With each sport, the authors introduce it with a little history, details on how the first rules were set down, and then in sidenotes, talk about how things have changed and the current rules.
The commentary weaves in acute observations (on American football: “The incremental, often-obtuse rule changes that have redefined the game for each succeeding generation of players and fans echo the complexities of the U.S. legal system.”), humor (“…pickle ball can best be described as table tennis with a Wiffle ball played on a badminton court.”), snark (on the rule of no hitting or kicking in wrestling: “Then there’s the third form of ‘wrestling’ that wouldn’t be anything at all if hitting and kicking weren’t allowed – pro wrestling.”), and trivia (“And today, while baseball mints its billions, Wiffle balls are still made in the Mullanys’ tiny fifteen-person factory in Shelton, Connecticut.”)
In between chapters, the authors describe the various incarnations of sports items…helmets, balls, sticks, field/court sizes…nice pieces of trivia. There’s bit on the “sport” of Poker (chuckling still), and even one on Rock-Paper-Scissors variations. Yes, the authors do talk about the variation popularized on The Big Bang Theory! Well, as attributed to Sam Kass, it is Rock-Paper-Scissors-Spock-Lizard.
A fun read.