Saturday, January 09, 2016

Sepia Saturday 312 : Shape And Size And The Angel Of Enlightenment.


Our Sepia Saturday prompt this week features a photograph of a 1910 "pushball competition" at Miami University. I am not entirely certain what pushball is, but it would appear to involve a lot of grown men doing silly things with a ball. And that is just the description a lot of people  - uninitiated in an understanding of the finer aspects of sporting prowess - apply to the beautiful game of football (or, to those from foreign shores, "soccer").

At almost exactly the same moment that those Floridians were hoisting that ridiculous ball into the air, a more sober group of young men from Longtown in Cumberland, England were sitting down to have their collective photograph taken. When I first chose this picture to feature - selecting it from the fine collection of picture postcards gathered by my Great Uncle, Fowler Beanland, I felt rather pleased with myself having discovered another old photograph of participants in the beautiful game from the Eskdale area of Cumbria. I had previously featured - way back in Sepia Saturday 27 in June 2010 - a picture of the Eskdale Juniors Football Team from the 1905-6 season.


But, as always for the scanner of old photographs, it is not the devil that is in the detail, but the angel of enlightenment. Look closely at the shape of the ball in that first photograph and you realise that it was not the beautiful game they were participating in, but its rougher first cousin - rugby football.


Whether the ball is round or oval shaped, whether it is big or small: the old photographs capture a unique moment of time and preserve them forever. To see more moments preserved, take a trip over to the Sepia Saturday Blog and follow the links.

15 comments:

  1. These do capture a wonderful moment in time.

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  2. I have to make a small correction for you, Alan. You say the photo is from Miami University, and then later refer to the players as Floridians. While there may be a Floridian or two in the photo, Miami University is in Ohio, not Florida. The photo credit (digital.lib.muohio.edu/u?/snyder,1477) verifies this. The University of Miami is in Florida. But no problem; folks in the U.S. commonly make this mistake, as well. Jim

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    1. I stand corrected. For Floridians read Ohioans (if such a descriptive term exists). Thanks WS

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  3. Both groups of men look quite a bit more serious about the game than the Ohio crowd.

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  4. Yes that is a lot of pushing of bodies against other bodies. I remember staying at a home where rugby teams were practicing while I was trying to sleep early in the morning. Lots of grunting and mob warfare by leaning and shoving. Great old photos.

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  5. Do you really have an uncle named Fowler Beanland?

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  6. I would never have noticed the shape of the ball. Good one!

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  7. I know my kids played soccer when they were growing up & it was fun to watch their games. But I'm a dyed-in-the-wool fan of American football. There's more structure to it & time between plays to try to guess what a team is going to do next. They do play it with a non-round ball, however. And sometimes certain players on certain teams make it a slightly flattened non-round ball :)

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  8. The gentleman on the far right cuts an interesting figure in his plus fours, if that's what he's wearing. Looks more suited to golf than rugby!

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  9. When you talked of people doing silly things with a ball I thought you were talking about golf :-) Love the striped jerseys. - boundforoz

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  10. "The game's afoot!" cried Sherlock. With such similar stripes, it's a wonder that rugby and football players didn't sometimes find themselves chasing the wrong ball.

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  11. What wonderful photos. I'm always amazed that young men look the same across the centuries..and no doubt the millenia.

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  12. An easy mistake to make but I’m glad you kept your eye on the ball. God bless Fowler Beanland!

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  13. The dress code looks hilarious,probably the same will be thought of our blue jean and t-shirt attire on 100 year old photos.

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