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As part of their games, men hurl, kick, drive or push a wide variety of objects through the air and along the ground. Most have changed considerably through the years as new materials have been developed and new rules devised. None, probably, has undergone a more startling evolution than the football, which began as a human skull and ended as today's inflated spheroid. (Some English workmen, the story goes, were digging up a battlefield after the Danes were driven from Britain in 1025, and uncovered a skull, presumably Danish, which they began kicking around in anger—and so invented a new game.)
As it changed, each object has profoundly influenced the sport in which it is used. By moving faster or slower or more or less accurately, it altered the game's strategy and the delicate balance between offense and defense, which is the essence of many team and man-to-man competitions. Today, for example, it would be simple to design a football which would be easier to handle or easier to kick or to pass. The virtue of the present ball is that it embodies a neat balance of all three functions.
On this and the following pages are John Langley Howard's brush portraits of many balls used in sports, with descriptions of their composition and dimensions. Since the game is the essence of the ball in all its varied forms, let the reader make a new ball game for himself by studying each painting and description and then identifying it on his own before turning to page 107 for help. A reasonably hep sportsman should be able to get a perfect score.
1 Solid white rubber, 7� to eight inches around and weighing five to 5� ounces; in play, almost completely unaffected by atmospheric conditions
2 Not less than nine or more than 9� inches around; yarn wound around cork, rubber or similar material; covered with strips of horsehide
3 A rubber bladder in a leather case, inflated to 12 pounds of pressure; 29� to 30 inches in circumference; the game is only 67 years old
4 No heavier than 1.62 ounces, no less than 1.62 inches in diameter; the balata covering has recessed markings to aid aerodynamic stability
6 Black rubber, just a shade short of two inches in diameter; from 100-inch drop, must rebound 62 to 65 inches; played indoors and out
7 For some reason, most youngsters call this a "Spaldeen"; it's really a standard tennis ball without felt on the outside; hollow red rubber