Tuesday , December 7 2021

The Lithuanian Immigrant Who Launched the First Women’s College Basketball Game

Women’s sports were widely condemned in the 1890s. Modern Olympics Games founder Baron Pierre de Coubertin called the activities “indecent,” and even bicycle riding by women was decried as “vicious” by The Atlantic, a prestigious magazine. But the norms of the era didn’t deter a Massachusetts college physical education director named Senda Berenson from organizing the first women’s college basketball game in spring 1893.

A little more than a year earlier, Berenson, a 25-year-old Jewish immigrant from Lithuania, read about the invention of basketball by Dr. James Naismith, who was born in Canada. Naismith wrote the sport’s original 13 rules as part of a December 1891 class assignment at a YMCA training school in Springfield, Massachusetts. 

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