Soccer, baseball, volleyball, and golf—humans love sports. We play old ones. We invent new ones. We cheer for our favorite players and cry over our losses. But how long have humans been playing sports for fun? Which sports are the oldest?
Cricket, the English sport, is among the oldest. There have been international cricket matches since 1844, but the game is much older than that. There are references to a sport called "creckett" as far back as the late 1500s, when it was a children's game. It became popular among adults in the 1600s. The rules were officially recorded in 1744.
Tennis is also quite old. It began in Europe. Experts believe it was played in monasteries for entertainment in the 1300s. It was first played with a wooden ball and with hands instead of racquets, but it evolved over time. It became popular among French kings between the 1500s and the 1800s. That was when it got the name "tennis" and when official rules were established.
But by far the oldest sport comes from the NewWorld. It's called ulama, and it comes from what is now Mexico. Ulama was played on a long, narrow court, with two teams of four or five people at each end. Teams serve the balls to each other, and then team members try to move the balls along the court until they score by hitting a ball past the other team's line. They can only hit the balls with their hips and thighs. Ulama is not common now, but it is still sometimes played today in parts of Mexico. It began as far back as 1,500 BC, which means ulama has been played for 3,500 years!
板球這種英國運動是最古老的運動之一。從1844年開始就有國際性的板球比賽，但這運動本身在更早之前就開始了。有來源指出，在16 世紀晚期出現了一種叫creckett 的運動，當時是小孩子在玩的遊戲，於17 世紀開始在成人間風行，而正式的比賽規則在1744年被制定。
網球也頗為古老，它始於歐洲。專家們相信，網球在14 世紀時原本是在修道院裡為了娛樂而開始的。剛開始用的是木球，並且是用手而不是網子打球，之後才慢慢進化。網球在16 世紀和19 世紀在法國國王之間蔚為風尚，也是到這個時期，網球才得到「網球」這個名稱，並制定了正式規則。