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History's Happenings for November 6

First Intercollegiate Football Game Played

In a game that still more closely resembled soccer, Rutgers and Princeton inaugurated college football in a match played in New Brunswick on November 6, 1869.

The scene was somewhat different than today -- certainly much simpler. The Princeton team had been invited by their Rutgers hosts to play a three-game series, the first and third in New Brunswick and the second in Princeton. Arriving in New Brunswick on the morning train on November 6, the Princeton team leisurely toured the town and then was entertained at dinner. At three o'clock both teams met on the field -- a privately owned block along College Avenue that has long since become the old Rutgers gymnasium.

The sport still being very young, the two captains had first to agree on a common set of rules. The ball would be kicked and punched with the fists, but never carried. Goals would be scored whenever the ball was propelled through the upright goal posts -- at any height, as there was no crossbar.

There were no uniforms, save for scarlet turbans worn by the Rutgersmen -- hardly the protective headgear which came to be representative of the sport by the turn of the century. Fans flocked in from both campuses, sitting on the board fence surrounding the field or fabricating makeshift bleachers. There were no banners or bands, but plenty of college cheers and songs.

Rutgers scored the first goal of intercollegiate football, and went on to win the game six goals to four. Princeton won the second game, and the third was called due to an inability to find a mutually acceptable meeting time. The faculty also discouraged continued play due to the "great zest and rivalry aroused".

Other eastern colleges soon joined the sport -- Rutgers playing both Columbia and Princeton in 1870. In 1873, Yale, Princeton and Rutgers met in New York to found the first intercollegiate football association and try to make more sense of the rules, which continued to evolve for decades.

Harvard played the Canadians of McGill University in 1874, and between the two of them introduced aspects of rugby to the sport, which Harvard used in its first game with Yale the same year. Ultimately the game came to be governed by the merger of two rules committees founded in 1894 and 1905, a forerunner of the NCAA.

Birth of John Philip Sousa

(Stay tuned for a write-up on this event.
On the other hand, if you'd like to try writing
one  ... send it in! )

Daylight Savings Time Ends Tonight

Daylight Savings Time -- originally termed "summer time" -- was cooked up in the mind of Benjamin Franklin while he was U.S.envoy to France in the 1780's. Like most new ideas, it was resisted until, a century later, the Brits decided to try it out, advancing their clocks 80 minutes over a period of four Sundays in the spring. During World War I, England was placed on "double summer time" -- two hours ahead -- year-round.

The U.S. took a little longer but, by the end of the First World War, "summer time" was common, if not very uniform in application across the country. During WWII, President Roosevelt also placed the country on year-round Daylight Savings Time from 1942 to 1945.

The start and end dates for DST were standardized by the Uniform Time Act of 1966, and have been altered by law twice since, the most recent expanding DST in 2005.

Under the law, states may still exempt themselves from observing Daylight Savings Time through an act of the legislature. Arizona (with the exception of the Navajo Nation), Hawaii and the territories of Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Guam, and American Samoa do just that.

So, before going to bed tonight, set your clocks back one hour. Daylight Savings Time officially ends at 2:00 AM.

You get to sleep in another hour tomorrow!

Got a favorite (and relevant) historical event?   Let us know!

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