In 1823, the story goes, William Webb Ellis, a student at Rugby School in Rugby, England, picked up the ball in a soccer match and ran with it. The other team jumped on him to get the ball back and thus was born — American football.

OK, it was the game of rugby, from which football — which is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year — originated.

The first intercollegiate football game was played between Princeton and Rutgers on Nov. 6, 1869. Rutgers won 6-4.

Harvard and Yale played their first game six years later, in 1875, and have played each other just about every year since and, if memory serves, they played that first game mostly by rugby rules.

Football is still soccer in most of the world, and football in its early versions was often called “mob football” because of its mix-and-match rules, large number of players per side and its high injury rate. See Sean Connery’s 1970 film “The Molly Maguires” to get an idea what it was like.

What a trillion-dollar business old Bill Ellis has wrought. Go, Patriots!

Like reading this column?

In September, in an effort to do some good, I wrote that as an uncompensated, contributing columnist I would continue writing my weekly column as long as an average of $150 a month was contributed to the Attleboro Area Council for Children in the name of Columns for kids.

Folks, we’re off to a slow start. Only $55 was donated in September, and $20 in the first week of October. Thank you all very much, but we need another $225 in October — that’s about 23 readers giving 10 bucks — to reach our $150 average.

I enjoy writing this column but, after 50 years of doing it, it’s hard to beg.

The CFC is doing great things, their Christmas Is For Kids only one of their many programs. Together, let’s help them.

The Council for Children’s mailing address is 4 Hodges St., Attleboro, MA 02703.

Saturday sermon

“When a man is wrapped up in himself, he makes a pretty small package.”

— John Ruskin

I didn’t know that

Although they had diapers in Medieval times, the safety pin wasn’t invented until 1849.


Why do you only get one thing when you buy a pair of pants?

So you’re so smart ...

Last week I bet you couldn’t tell me the name of a horror film villain that is spelled out by the first letters of five consecutive months of the year.

“That would be Jason Voorhees in the slasher movies,” writes Bob Girling, who put together the first initials for July, August, September, October and November. He wasn’t alone.

“The answer to this week’s question is Jason,” write Arlene Macaione, Paul Astphan, Arlene Beale, Doug Wynne of Plainville and Kevin Smith of Plainville.

“ASOND?,” guesses Terrence O’Neill, who then writes back to say he’s wrong, that Asond is a small village in Western India.

“Jason! Love your column! Keep smiling!” writes an anonymous reader.

“This was easy. July, August, September, October, November — JASON,” writes Don Sloper of Wrentham. “Hope you have enough room in your column for all the people with the correct answer!”

“Never watch horror movies but JASON seems to fit. Gooo, CFC,” writes John Dunn.

See you next week.

ORESTE P. D’ARCONTE is a former publisher of The Sun Chronicle. Reach him at

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