Friday, November 28, 2014

Thanksgiving without football?

Thanksgiving without football?

Yeah, right.

Except, in 1762, it was a bit of a different story:

Readers of the Providence Gazette on November 13, 1762, would have spotted this good news, namely, a proclamation by Rhode Island Gov. Samuel Ward:

“ALMIGHTY GOD in the Course of His wise and gracious Providence, having vouchsafed many great and signal Favours to the Kingdoms of Great-Britain and Ireland, to the British Plantations, and to this Colony in particular, the General Assembly passed an ACT, appointing THURSDAY the Eighteenth Instant, to be observed as a Day of Public Thanksgiving . . .

“AND that the said Day may be religiously observed, as a Day of public Worship and Thanksgiving, without any Interruption, I do strictly inhibit and forbid any servile Labor to be done thereon, and all Manner of Sports and Pastimes.”

Americans wouldn’t get around to organizing the National Football League until 1920, so that last bit about forbidding “all Manner of Sports and Pastimes” probably wasn’t a great big deal to the Rhode Islanders in the middle of the 18th century….

Y’know, the bigtime sports and pastimes in the colonial era were winners like ninepins, cockfighting and dueling, I guess folks could pass on these for one day without too much pain….

Copyright © Richard Carl Subber 2014

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