Today’s ball is the BASKETball.
The basketball has a long history with Dogs.
Originally designed as an adjunct tool for gathering food, cynologists (those who study Dogs) believe that the basketball was first employed by the Cave Dog on his forays into the wilderness in search of sustenance.
Archaeological evidence suggests that the first basketballs were stones that were covered in a heavy fabric. This fabric, which was the colour of terracotta, was wrapped several times around the stone until the circumference of the “ball” measured at least ten times that of the original stone.
Scholars believe that the ball was placed in the centre of the basket that the Cave Dog wore around his neck on food-gathering trips. The basketball, which weighed at least 1 kilogram, prevented the basket from shaking to and fro as the Cave Dog foraged about.
Many believe sporting history was made on the day that the woven reeds in the centre of the basket broke and the ball fell through the hole. The Cave Dog, who was amused by this occurrence, picked up the ball and dropped it, again, through the broken basket. He repeated this play with the ball, from ever increasing heights, until he settled on the idea of hanging the broken basket above the cave door.
Since that time, the broken basket and its companion ball have provided many hours of pleasure for Dogs everywhere.
Sources: Survival and Sustenance in the Prehistoric World, Volume 4: Balls; The Fireside Book of Canine Prehistory; The Extraordinary Life of the Everyday Dog (2nd edition); The World of the Prehistoric Dog: Revelations and Balls; Various Newspaper Articles and Reports.
Bailey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This column originally appeared in Issue #112 of The Mammalian Daily.