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Monday, April 02, 2007

Chalk one up for China! Goal! Goal!














Passions run hot here over a few sports: ping-pong, basketball and soccer. Well, they call the last one football - but to a true-blue Australian like me that means Aussie Rules.

Anyway, in my meanderings around the Net, I came across the origins of soccer - and China cracks a mention, so I thought I'd share it here, just in case my curious students read my blog ...

> Many believe the English invented the sport, but from what we can gather, the Chinese deserve the bulk of the credit. Canada's CTV quotes FIFA president Sepp Blatter as saying there is evidence the Chinese played the game "a thousand years ago." It may go even further back. According to that same article, historians have discovered proof the game originated about 2,000 years ago.

FIFA.com goes into considerably more depth. An early soccer-like game called "cuju" bore many similarities to modern soccer with teams, rules, competitions, and stadiums. The game "gained favour among the rulers and the people," and over time, evolved into a worldwide phenomenon.

One question remains, though -- who came up with the word "soccer"? The always reliable Mavens' Word of the Day explains that Britain is the unlikely culprit. "The formal designation for the game we know as soccer is Association football." Mavens' explains that the word "soccer" is a kind of slangy contraction of "(As)soc(iation football)" and an "er" suffix. <

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