Editor’s Note: Welcome Gordon Corsetti back to LAS! Gordon has been researching the roots of the game, and sharing his findings with us. It’s an informative and exhaustive look at the history of modern lacrosse. If you’re interested in reffing or learning more about the rules of modern lacrosse, check out Gordon’s book, ”Advancement Rules: Improving Your Lacrosse Officiating“, on Amazon!
Last week I introduced everyone to how lacrosse was originally played by Native Americans using secondary sources quoted by William George Beers in “Lacrosse: The National Game of Canada.” This week I’m digging in to how the men’s lacrosse game was played with the standardized rules developed by William Beers in the late 1860s.
Readers will see a marked difference in how the game was modified from its original Native American roots to a game that, by Beers’ description, was significantly improved for play by white Canadians.
Get Early Access
"*" indicates required fields
As with last week’s post, any quotes from Beers’ book are made with a short citation that will list the quote location in the original text followed by the page in Google Books. For example, (5, 28) designates page five in the original text, and page twenty-eight in Google Books.
I will follow the same structure that Beers uses in describing his version of lacrosse. The first section will detail how Beers promoted lacrosse in Canada with descriptions of the game itself, the temperament of the players, and the benefits of the game to the body and mind. The second section will focus on the game, the field and the equipment required for playing. The third section will drill into the techniques for practicing and playing lacrosse recommended by Beers. The fourth and final section will cover the positions and their various responsibilities.
Now, let’s go sell lacrosse to 19th century Canadians!
Promoting the Game
As I wrote last week, Beers needed to popularize lacrosse in a way that appealed to white Canadians and frequently makes mention of the superior nature of his version compared to that of the Native Americans: “The present game, improved and reduced to rule by the whites, employs the greatest combination of physical and mental activity white men can sustain in recreation, and is as much superior to the original as civilization is to barbarism, baseball to its old English parent of rounders, or a pretty Canadian girl to any uncultivated squaw” (31, 56).
This statement could have easily been posted on flyers promoting lacrosse because it reinforced the prevailing belief of the inherent superiority and intelligence of white Canadians to Native Americans. With the hook firmly baited with terms that spoke to white Canadians, Beers elaborates on the newly standardized sport of lacrosse.
“The aim of Lacrosse is so evident and simple that a child looker-on can intuitively understand it. It has no elaborate nomenclature to make it puzzling; its science and beauty need but eyes for discovery. The players are divided into two equal sides; each has a goal to defend and one to attack; certain men are posted in certain positions; the ball is placed midway on the field and faced for by the centres. The object of both sides is to put the ball through the goal of the opponent and prevent him getting it through theirs; and all the running, throwing and endless variety of play tends to that end” (31, 56).
This is basically Rule 1, Section 1 in today’s rulebook, which states that the object of lacrosse is to have more goals than your opponent by the end of the game. Beers even does some smack talk against other sports when stating, “Lacrosse has its failings, but so has every game; but for what the object of all such sports should be – that is, the healthy, active exercise of every part of the body, unintermittent amusement, infinite variety, and science enough to stimulate young players to keep at it till they learn, and old ones not to give it up – what other game compares to Lacrosse” (34, 57)?
In Beers’ mind, no other sport matches up with lacrosse. His selling point is that his version is flat-out better than any other sport in existence. Other writers reinforced this mindset: “[an] unnamed contributor to Chambers Journal in December 1862 ‘A Rival to Cricket ’ – ‘Still I hold that cricket cannot hold a candle to Lacrosse for variety, ingenuity and interest’” (37, 50).
The best quote I found about the wonderful nature of playing or watching lacrosse is that lacrosse “is a holiday to the blood to play, and a half-holiday to look on” (37, 60). And while Beers does a fine job promoting the benefits of the game, he also cautions everyone that it is not a game that can be easily picked up, despite the ease at which the best players seem to perform.
“Nature may send born poets into the world, but she never sends Lacrosse players; at least, not in any white community. There is nothing more amusing to a good player than to watch the first attempts of a tyro, with a crosse and a ball” (40, 63). The word tyro is a noun meaning beginner or novice, but in the context of this quote the reader could replace it with “newb” and get the same effect. For instance, “look at that newb with the lacrosse stick.” We’ve all said it, and it is still funny to watch.
One of Beers’ many theories on good play is that if you are going to be a lacrosse player, you might as well endeavor to be a good one. He believes that only good players will make the “first Twelve.” In Beers’ standardized version, lacrosse was played with twelve men per side as opposed to today’s ten-man lineup. The “first twelve” refers to the starters in the game, and only those that knew how to play earn those coveted spots according to Beers. He does caution, that no matter how good or bad a player may be that they should follow Thackeray’s advice – “Who misses or who wins the prize, Go, lose or conquer as you can, But if you fail, or if you rise, Be each, pray God, a gentleman” (42, 65).
Sportsmanship, while not termed exactly so by Beers, is huge to him and his contemporaries. They felt every player should always endeavor to be a gentleman on and off the pitch, and Beers emphasizes the sportsmanship (in his words – moral high ground) of lacrosse in this way: “It knocks timidity and nonsense out of a young man, training him to temperance, confidence, and pluck; teaches him to govern his temper if he has too much, or rouses it healthily if he has too little. It shames grumpiness out of him, schools his vanity, and makes him a man. It develops judgment and calculation, promptness and decision; destroys conventionality, and creates a sort of freemasonry which draws men of the same tastes and sympathies together. It has one result, too, which the good Dr. Arnold, of Rugby, foresaw in such healthy exercises when he made them part of his system of instruction, viz., a mingling of Greek with Christian education, ‘in which the body should become the strong instrument of the trained mind and free heart, open to every pure, high, and heroic feeling.’ Its moral influence is beyond dispute” (50, 73).
Beers wasn’t just marketing lacrosse to adult Canadians, but to the parents of Canada’s young men. He strongly believed that lacrosse built better men through play for the reasons listed above.
The Game, Field and Equipment
Lacrosse is nothing without the crosse, so let’s start there: “The laws of Lacrosse now limit the width of the widest part to one foot, but nine inches is perhaps more serviceable and convenient for every purpose; though a goal-keeper may take advantage of the outside limit” (77, 100). These measurements have stood the test of time. Today’s rules allow for a goalie’s head to be between 10 to 12 inches at the widest point. Although field players stick heads have shrunk from the originally recommended nine inches wide to a minimum of 6 1/2’ for NFHS and 6’ for NCAA.
“There is no restriction upon the length of the stick, but the measurement most likely to suit all parties is from the toe, close into the hollow under either arm. A long stick is better for long and hard throwing, and for general play, providing the player can manager it; but the disadvantage is, that the weight is increased, and that the length impedes ground frisking, and is more exposed to checks in dodging” (77, 100). This rule boils down to don’t make the stick larger than you, which I always recommend for young, growing defenseman. Learn to use a short stick and then transfer those stick skills to the larger stick as you grow. Also, ground frisking does not mean picking up a ground ball, as you will soon learn.
As you can see from the diagram, how the stick was strung determined a player’s dominate side when playing. “Holding it in your right hand, the right side is that which is uppermost when the tip of the curve is to the right. Reverse it, and you bring the tip to the left, and the left side uppermost” (79, 102). No matter which way the stick was strung, both faceoff Centres (or midfielders as known today) had to face off with the stick in their right hands so the wood of their crosse rested on the ground, and not the exposed netting. This is the reason for face-off midfielders facing off right handed today, and not some institutional bias against lefties.
Beers states that there are proponents for both left-handed sticks and right-handed sticks, but that ultimately, “the most natural side for each player is the only rule” (80, 103). He also notes that, “it is much cheaper to buy than to make a crosse, but every player should learn to weave a netting for himself,” which was great advice then and still valid today (80, 103). A crosse’s netting was made out of a variety of materials, but Beers discovered that clock gut, used for suspending clock weights, lasted the longest out of all available weaving materials. Finally, “the length strings should be made so tight as to prevent the possibility of the netting bagging. The ‘bag’ was instituted by bad players who were fond of dodging, and too lazy or unskillful to learn the art of managing the ball on a flat netting” (82, 105).
Beers highly disapproved of any type of bag or pocket in a lacrosse stick, believing that it encouraged less deliberate practice and deemphasized skill development. This marks a sharp difference between the men’s game of old and the one we currently play today. In fact, it is the woman’s game today, as you will see, that bears a greater resemblance to the game standardized by Beers.
One aspect of the game that prevailed over time is that, “two goals are required. Two flags constitute a goal; colors generally scarlet and blue, sometimes very handsomely worked in gold and embroidery. The flagpoles should have iron spikes about two inches long to sink into the ground. The distance from one goal to the other should be proportioned by the number of players; two hundred yards is a fair length for twelve players a side” (83, 106). Why the goal flags were typically colored scarlet and blue is unknown. Perhaps they were the colors representing the first lacrosse teams, but whatever the reason I think goal posts with inlaid gold is ridiculously awesome.
Another interesting fact is that the original goal posts were spaced seven feet apart, but as shooters gained proficiency it was narrowed to what everyone felt was a fairer six feet. Yet another fact is that the crease was made one of two ways: either it was laid out in chalk, or it was drawn into the ground using the butt of a stick. An fun addendum is that players who attempted long passes on windy days could use the flags on the goals to track which way the wind was blowing and adjust their throws accordingly (128, 151).
The goals were and still are a major component of lacrosse, but the field requirements have changed significantly. As a lacrosse official I am required by rule to check the overall integrity of every field I ref on. I look for holes and other hazards that could prove dangerous to the players. According to Beers any field that was reasonably flat would do provided most of the rocks were removed. He mentions that lacrosse could be played in the snow or even on ice while wearing skates (84, 107)!
Crosse, field and goals set all that is left is the ball to have all the essentials to a game.
According to the text the ball weighed roughly four ounces (today’s balls generally weigh around five to five and a half ounces), and that rubber balls were discarded for being too heavy. It is not specified what the balls were made out of after the rubber ball experiment failed. It is also noted that the balls were painted white to improve visibility, but that it was “only a temporary expedient, as the paint soon [wore] off” (84, 107).
For uniforms, players were required to dress similarly to one another on a particular team so that two teams could tell each other apart at a glance. Shoes were recommended as were gloves, particularly gloves used for driving open-air automobiles, to protect the fingers and forearms from blows. It was permitted by rule to cut out the palms of gloves to gain a better grip on the crosse, which is absolutely forbidden in the rules today (85, 108).
It surprised me to read that pre-game lineups were instituted before most games in Beers’ era. Prior to the first faceoff players from each team would line up across from one another in much the same manner as today. Midfielders in the middle of each line, and attackmen and defenseman nearest the goal they will be to start, that translates into: left shoulder towards the goal your team is defending. It is never mentioned if players shook hands prior to the game as is customary today, but that the captains would shout “Take Posts” and the players would break to their respective positions for the first faceoff (90, 113).
Captains make a special mention in Beers’ book: “There is no greater delusion in Lacrosse clubs than to suppose, that because a man has made some mark as a player, he is competent to act as captain. There is a combination of mental and physical qualifications required of him, something parallel to those of a good general. His ability to throw to perfection, to check and dodge, no more qualifies him for a captain, than the most thorough knowledge of drill does a solider for a commander. Directing the men during the fluctuations of a game is mainly a peculiar mental occupation, and needs something beyond the physical attributes of a player” (92, 115)
I’ve experienced the above myself. Some players are great players, but not great leaders, and it is important to select captains for your team based on their ability to lead and manage and not necessarily their ability to score goals or strip the ball.
As evidenced throughout his book, Beers is a fan of history and it disappointed him that there were few records of lacrosse stats from the game’s early beginnings in Canada. He devised what I believe is the first lacrosse scorebook, which he also thought would lessen foul play, as there would be a permanent record of a player’s transgressions. You will notice in this sketch that there are five games listed at the bottom. Early lacrosse games were best of five affairs.
Whichever team scored either three or five goals first in each game won that game.
Beers did not like how Native Americans started a lacrosse game, with a mad dash for the ball on the ground or falling from the air. He instituted facing off between two Centres (midfielders), where the ball was placed between the backs of two sticks held in each players’ right hand. The captain in charge of the game would yell “Ready – Play” and the game began (97, 120).
Beers also describes several different faceoff moves that can still be seen today in the clamp, jump, and laser rake. The pinch-and-pop is a more recent development as trying to accomplish that move with the sticks in Beers’ era would likely snap the head. Beers also says that “there can be no absolute rule laid down about position [on a faceoff]; a man may stand on his head if he likes, providing he finds it his best way; but one rule should guide the Centre, and that is, not to get into a position for facing, which checks or impedes elasticity and spring for completing the face, making the best of an advantage gained or an opportunity lost” (99, 122).
The basic rule on body position for the faceoff players is: don’t do what doesn’t work. Facing off was, and still is, a skill. Beers loved skills and abhorred sloppy play. In his mind, if it was worth doing it was worth doing to perfection, and he had little patience for those who thought they were above practicing. “To assert that you can learn to play as well by intuition as by rule, is to deny that there are first principles in the game, and it would be as useless trying to teach you as trying to prove Euclid’s proportions to a man who disputes the axioms. If you feel yourself such an incarnation of genius that you think you know everything about the game, you’ll find yourself left behind, and may say au revoir to your chances of election on ‘the first twelve’” (106, 129).
I love that quote. I see too many players in Fall Ball who think they are God’s gift to lacrosse and use the same skill set to dominate less experienced players during the offseason. When I officiate during the regular season I often see these same stagnant players getting worked by other players who used their offseason to expand their skill. Passing skills were at the top of Beers’ list for developing good players. He was adamant that “to catch with a bagged crosse is no art whatever; to catch and play with the netting flat is the perfection of catching, because it makes your play scientific. It was not unusual before laws were made, to find the best catchers those who had bagged netting, and there were passable players who could not play at all when obliged to use the netting flat” (134, 157).
He notes that the Native Americans had even smaller sticks than the white men were using and had little trouble “keeping the ball from touching the ground all afternoon,” as Lanman describes (134, 157). As I mentioned earlier, I consider the bagged head the biggest difference between the men’s game now and the way it was played in 1869. I feel confident in saying that Beers would find today’s woman’s game far more scientific and artful than the men’s game.
To improve your skill as a passer Beers recommended passing with teammates, or even “[throwing] the ball from different distances and to different points of a high wall or fence, [and] catching as it rebounds” (137, 160). As far as I can tell in my research, this is the first mention of the benefits of a wall ball routine. He also supported practicing equally with both hands. Beers further states to players to “have confidence in your stride, and remember that the greatest accuracy and skill are of little avail, if you ignore throwing into the crosses of your own men” (133, 156).
That piece of advice is pretty self explanatory, but the black holes out on the lacrosse field still won’t pass the ball no matter how open his teammate is on the crease. Beers would rather a player spend most of his time practicing throwing and catching than dodging. He regards dodging as an unfortunate side effect of the white man’s influence on the Native American game. He observed Native Americans performing what he called “thrown dodges” where the player would throw the ball over or around the defender and then regain possession after running past the defender. The bagged crosse, before Beers outlawed it, contributed to the increase in dodging. While he would prefer a player pass the ball instead of dodging an opponent, he reasoned that the best play was often between the two extremes of passing and dodging and counseled players to choose an option that best fit the game scenario (148, 171).
He goes into great detail about dodges that still exist today, primarily because there are only so many ways to get past someone with a lacrosse stick in your hands. The face dodge and roll dodge are given equal time in the text, but one option, dandling, is also suggested as an effective means of getting by another player. To dandle the ball, the offensive player runs by the defensive player and right before a check is landed, the offensive player throws the ball out of his crosse a few inches and then catches the ball after the check lands. Beers saw it as a good way to keep the ball even when a check was landed because the ball was never in the crosse at the moment of impact (148, 171).
In terms of when to dodge Beers has terrific advice: “remember you are to avoid a checker in preference to dodging him” (151, 181). My favorite question to ask young players is what is the most effective dodge? They all yell roll, face, or split and I always answer how about you just run by the guy? No sense in absorbing a check if you can flat out run by the defender. Beers knew that in the 19th century and it is still true today.
While Beers has little enthusiasm for dodging he has plenty to say on how to check properly. “A skillful checker will seldom let a dodger pass him successfully. Quick eyes, an elastic body and extremities, pluck and perseverance, are the shining virtues of a checker; and a perfection in this department materially restrains dodging, it should be well cultivated. Good checks are worth more on a twelve than men reputed for dodging” (161, 184). He goes so far as to say that “the perfection of checking is to check without hitting your opponent” and that actually hitting an opponent with a check was indicative of bad or unskillful play (178, 201).
Beers goes on to say that “it is not uncommon to see a good dodger, hard pressed, lose the ball from sheer nervousness, and the best calculated throw ruined, because of the proximity of the checker. The golden rule, therefore, is ‘never give up.’ Even if down on your marrowbones, stick to it as long as you can. The pluck and persistency of the hero in the ballad of Chevy Chase may be a worthy example, who, ‘When his legs were smitten off, He fought upon his stumps.’” You read that correctly, “the ballad of Chevy Chase.” I couldn’t come up with that if I tried, but the quote Beers references is quite apt to what we all want players to accomplish when they commit a mistake (176, 199).
Beers segues from checking into securing a loose ground ball, probably because a well executed check would place the ball on the ground. He mentions the proper way of running through a ground ball, but also two other methods. One technique he describes is frisking the ball, which I mentioned earlier. Frisking the ball is maneuvering up the field without definite possession while knocking the ball forward with your body or crosse. It isn’t exactly picking the ball up with the crosse, but it does add an element of field hockey-esque play into lacrosse (183, 205). Although I have a feeling that coaches today if they saw a player frisk the ball in a game would scream out, “pick up the ball, it’s not a hand grenade!”
The other ground ball technique was completely invented by the white players and was termed the cover check. Beers’ description is the first recorded step-by-step instruction on how to rake the ball into the crosse. Beers notes that, “the Indians credit us with its invention in 1859, when we showed it to the interpreter at Caughnawaga. None of the crack Indian players knew it” (172, 195). Let it be known that the laziest method for picking up the ball was invented in 1859 by players who could not pick up the ball on the run. Raking the ball is the bane of my existence as a youth coach and it is a shame the text does not reference a specific player who invented this technique so he can be properly vilified.
Beers also suggests several ways of practicing how to pick up a ground ball, but one method in particular caught my eye. “A very good practice is frisking with a young and smart setter – your crosse versus his teeth and paws” (186, 209). You did not misread that. Beers thought ground ball drills with a quick dog were a fantastic way to practice picking up the pearl.
I’ve never seen this at a regular practice, but I want all LaxAllStars readers who have a dog to film themselves trying out Beers’ idea and send your video to LaxAllStars.
Player Positions and their Roles
Beers goes right to my heart and starts describing the position that wins championships, defense. “Point – He has one of the most important posts on the field, – a sort of key of the defense, needing considerable self-reliance. A good Point keeps many a ball from the goal, and, in a hard-pushed game, is of invaluable service. He is supposed to be destruction to all attempts at dodging, good for any ‘shouldering’ if necessary, and a good runner, at last, but not least, a fair goal-keeper” (191, 214).
I imagine this is the origin of the terms “point man” and “I’ve got point” when describing defenders on a fast break. I particularly like the part that the Point is “supposed to be destruction to all attempts at dodging.” What defender doesn’t want to be known as The Destroyer? He goes further saying, “it is absolutely necessary, then, that Point should be a thoroughly reliable man, and that his connecting links should always be on the alert for rapid support, retreat, or attack” (193, 216).
Who are those connecting links? Why the Cover-Point of course! “Cover-Point – Should possess every qualification of a Point. Point, Cover-Point and Goal-Keeper are a trio in defense, and need confidence in each other. We think the importance of these places has never been properly estimated: they make a defense either strong or weak” (194, 217). Essentially, teams needed a reliable Point man, a solid Cover-Point, and an exceptional goalie. A weak link at any of those positions made for a porous defense.
“Centre – As the early fortune of each game may depend upon the way the ball first goes – whether it is sent down towards the flags of your opponents, or up to your own, – the position of Centre offers no ordinary scope for skill. It is merely temporary, and only survives the starting of the ball” (194, 217). The Centre is the specialty position of the regular Fielders, or midfielders as we call them today. Like all other fielders, “he is supposed to be one of those ubiquitous few, who wander around, a terror to dodgers everywhere, and a puzzle to opposing checks. Good wind, good running capabilities, and a thoroughness in every part of the game, make him a valuable acquisition to a “twelve” (195, 218). Teams needed a capable faceoff player, but also one who could be an offensive threat and a defensive stand out. FOGOs would not have made for a valuable acquisition to a “twelve” in Beers’ time.
“Home – Should stand within eight or ten feet of the opposing goal. He should stand, as a rule, to one side, at right angles with the right of the goal-keeper, so as to success the ball in sideways. The goal-crease has prohibited him standing within six feet of the goal-keeper. A sharp Home is the bugbear of a goal-keeper. The ball comes to him in such a variety of ways, and so many changes occur in close contests around the flags, that he must exercise unusual sharpness and agility” (195, 218). This is an excellent description of a crafty attackman. Always near the crease and always ready for a quick catch and shot.
Every other player who was not designated Point, Cover-Point, Goal-Keeper, Centre, or Home were considered Fielders. Fielders had to know that, “there is a time to throw, and a time to dodge; a time to advance and a time to retire; and the perfection of fielding is to do all this neither too soon nor too late” (198, 221).
We come at last to the goal-keeper, who has such an important position on the field that Beers devotes an entire chapter to that position. “The moment the ball is thrown to goal – with no chance of interception until it gets there, – the whole fortune and stake concentrates in responsibility on the individual skill of the keeper, irrespective of all play that preceded it” (212, 235). Having a good goal-keeper was paramount to having a successful team. “Let the ball through, and you may rest on your crosse, while your antagonists throw up their sticks in the air, and ‘hurrah!’ and your side look glum and blue. Point may be Point to perfection; Centre may be all that could be wished, and your fielders swift as the antelope, but of what avail, if you fail” (213, 236). Everyone else can do their jobs correctly, but a missed save makes it all for naught.
Beers notes that this responsibility lies so heavily on the shoulders of those who play goalie as the reason so few players choose to get between the flags. They just can’t take the pressure. “Many crack players dread the responsibilities and dangers of goal-keeping. We have seen veteran fielders shrink up like the mimosa sensitiva at the very approach of a swift ball, which a trained goal-keeper would no more mind than a pea. A man may even stop balls well enough out on the field, but put him at goal, and confidence gives way to trepidation” (218, 241).
Why are they trepidatious? They’re afraid of getting hit with the ball! Beers has advice for that – “The first virtue of a goal-keeper is to forget that he has nerves, and simply accustom himself to stopping balls, high or low, swift or slow, because they have no business to pass him” (219, 242). But what if the ball hits him? Beers has advice for that too – “School boys should never cry when flogged, and goal-keepers should never flinch when hit” (219, 242).
It was recommended that goal-keepers wear leg guards, similar to cricket players, and to wear shoes instead of moccasins. Gloves were recommended, but “if the sun is in your eyes, the more pity for you, and luck for your opponents; but have a moveable peak to your cap, which can be regulated and extended as your prefer” (222, 245). The lack of equipment bears delving into. The goal-keepers in the 19th century did not wear helmets, mouth guards, throat guards, chest protectors, or cups when standing between the pipes. They wore leg guards, thin gloves, and a baseball cap. That is all they wore.
Now I doubt any player back in the day was ripping 114 MPH, but Beers does point out that the shots of his day were capable of “[killing] a dog if [the ball] struck it” (220, 243). Are you kidding me? I stopped playing goalie the day I got hit in the ankle with a slow rolling submarine shot. These goalies of old were standing in the crease with zero protection for the head, neck, heart, or crown jewels facing shots that could kill a dog!
The fact that any player even stepped into the crease during a game back then is astonishing. I’ve always known goalies were a crazy breed of player. This just confirms how crazy their positional ancestors were.
Beers did have one final piece of advice for any aspiring goalkeeper, “You must make up your mind, to endure reproaches patiently, and defeat bravely” (249, 272). Goalies need short memories and a hard work ethic. Don’t worry about the last goal, just focus on saving the next shot.
As I wrapped up my post from last week, I do again this week with a quote from Beers’ book:
“We feel we cannot better bring this book to an end, than by beseeching players not to cultivate rough and dangerous methods of play, merely because they are successful. If it is unfair and wrong in Cricket and other sports, why not in Lacrosse? – And where is the honor of taking advantage of little imperfections in the laws, and resorting to force, instead of cultivating accuracy and skill. Particularly at goal, a man wants to be shown fair play, or no good man will occupy that position. If you expect goal-keeper to restrain his desire to go out on the field, and lose the pleasures of a run, give him fair play in his own position. With a spirit of this kind, and an earnest desire to popularize fair play, in every part, our national game can never die; and the boast of an enthusiastic friend of ours will be fulfilled, – that one day ‘the sun will never set on our flags’ (250, 273)!
With your in-depth knowledge of how the first games were played with standardized rules you’ll be prepared for next week’s post on how the old rules have influenced the rules of today.