Sports of the Past Brian Sheehy North Andover High School Background

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Sports of the Past

  • Brian Sheehy
  • North Andover High School


  • North Andover High School
    • Trimester
    • Electives
  • What I teach
    • Sports of the Past
    • Sports in American Culture
    • AP Euro
    • WCII
    • Scarlet Knight Academy

Course Description

  • This course is designed to give students a historical perspective to the sports that they have grown up playing. This class will look at sports such as baseball, basketball, football, and soccer and see how these sports developed and changed over time. Students will get a better appreciation for the sports that they play today by learning about the history of the sport and then play an earlier version of the sport. They will also get a better understanding of other cultures by playing sports that are popular in other countries. These sports include cricket, Gaelic football, rugby, and stoolball. Students will see how the sports changed, evolved, and in many cases mirror other games. This class will meet in the classroom and in the gym and is designed to bring history to life.

Where did this class come from?

Course Objectives

  • History Objectives
  • understand the role played by sports in all cultures
  • identify major figures in sports and describe their accomplishments in the development of the sports
  • identify and describe changes leading to today’s professionalized and commercialized sports.
  • what trends in history do we see in the development of these sports
  • describe the variety of sports in different historical and geographical eras
  • examine primary source material
  • develop critical thinking, writing and analytical skill

Course Objectives

  • Wellness Objectives
  • Students will know and understand the rules of the games, both modern and historical
  • Students will understand scoring of the games and sport specific terminology of the sport
  • Students will understand the concept of working as a team and learn team success.
  • Students will demonstrate good sportsmanship and fair play. 

Duality of the Course

  • Some take it for history credit, other wellness credit
  • Sometimes we meet in the gym, other times in the classroom.
  • Sometimes you have to change, others you are writing an essay in the classroom


  • Reading Q’s
  • Essays
  • Projects/ Presentations
  • Quizzes
  • Participation in games
  • Changing


  • Mayan Ball Game
  • Basketball
  • Stick Games
    • Hockey
    • Golf
  • Bat and Ball Games
    • Baseball
    • Massachusetts Game
    • Cricket
    • Wicket
    • Stoolball
    • Rounder's
  • Racquet Games
  • Badminton
  • Tennis
  • Football Family
    • Soccer
    • Rugby
    • Gaelic Football
    • American Football

Way the Class Runs

  • Day 1 in the classroom learning the history, rules, and background of the sports we will play
  • Day 2 in the gym playing by an earlier rule set of the game
  • Day 3 in the gym playing modern rules
  • After this cycle we will discuss the difficulties of playing the games and how the sport has developed and changed. We will also make connection to other games we have played. After two or three cycles they will have an essay comparing sports.

Sample Writing Assignment

  • Please compare and contract the NY Game and the Massachusetts Game. List several similarities and at least 6 differences between the two styles of baseball. (Keep in mind the rules, field set, and styles of play) From looking at what was happening in the United States in the 1850’s and 1860’s what were some of the factors that might explain why and how the NY style spread throughout the country.
  • I would also like you to write a paragraph describing your experiences playing the games. What style did you prefer? What were some of the struggles of playing by those rules (be specific about which style you are referring too)? Would you want to play this game again?

History Activities

  • Read primary sources about the origins of the game
    • Sporting Guides
    • Old Newspaper Articles
  • Read articles written today
    • Base Ball: A Journal of the Early Game
    • Professional Football Researchers

Show and Tell



  • Try More Sports….
  • La soule
  • Shinty

In Development

  • Summer Camp
  • Resource Guide

Contact Me/ Questions

  • Brian Sheehy

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