For centuries, humans have engaged in various athletic activities for recreation and competition. One of the oldest known sports to use a ball is a game called “cuju”, which originated in China over 3,000 years ago.
Cuju, which translates to “kick ball”, is considered to be the earliest form of soccer in the world. According to ancient records, cuju was played between two teams of 11 players. The goal was to kick a leather ball through an opening in a net and into a goal. Players were prohibited from touching the ball with their hands, and teams could score based on the number of goals they made.
The first recorded evidence of cuju dates back to the Han Dynasty in the 3rd century BC. During this time, the sport was popular among the military and was used as a training tool to improve the physical fitness of soldiers. Over time, it evolved into a professional sport and became a popular pastime among the upper class.
By the time of the Tang Dynasty in the 7th century, cuju had become so popular that it was featured in the Imperial Court. During this period, the rules were further refined and the use of a leather ball was standardized. Players were also allowed to use their hands, and teams were allowed to score from any distance.
Today, cuju is still played in China, although it has evolved into a much different game. However, the basic rules remain the same, and it is still considered to be the oldest known sport to use a ball. It is also a testament to the long and rich history of sports in China.