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Football, an intercollegiate sport of Kansas colleges since the early 1890'$, is now on the athletic program of 400 Kansas high schools. A so called "clinical" game, employing rules that marked the beginning of the transition from the old "push-and-pull" kind of football to the modern open game, was played at Wichita in 1905. The first forward pass in American football history was attempted and completed in this trial game.

The Thanksgiving Day Football game between the University of Kansas and the University of Missouri is a traditional contest that dates from 1891. The game is played at the Missouri field and the Kansas Stadium in alternate years. The annual game between the Kansas State College and the University of Kansas, played alternately at Lawrence and Manhattan, is of Statewide interest.

Basketball is the most popular team sport in Kansas. The game was invented by a Kansan, Dr. James L. Naismith of the Physical Education Department of the University of Kansas, in collaboration with Luther H. Gulick. Kansas basketball teams have thrice won first place in the national high school tournament, and the University of Kansas is a perennial leader in the Big Six conference. The annual national tournament for women's basketball teams is held in March at Wichita.

Kansas is represented in professional baseball by the Salina Millers and the Hutchinson Larks of the Western Association. The National Semi-Professional Baseball Congress is held annually at Wichita. Statewide amateur leagues include the Ban Johnson League for youths, and the American Legion Junior League for boys between thirteen and sixteen. Softball, said to have been invented at Topeka in April 1916 by employees of the Santa Fe Railway, is very popular in the larger cities.

The University of Kansas Relays, a two-day track and field carnival held in the latter part of April at the university stadium in Lawrence, is an event of national interest. Established in 1924, soon after the completion of the stadium, this meet has become a rendezvous for internationally known athletes. Among those who have competed in the Kansas Relays are Jim Bausch of Wichita, 1932 Olympic decathlon champion; Glenn Cunningham of Elkhart, holder of the world's record for the mile and a member of the Olympic team in 1932 and 1936; and Archie San Roman! of Pittsburg, middle-distance runner and a member of the 1936 Olympic team.

Professional boxing bouts are infrequent in Kansas, but professional wrestling matches are held at Topeka, Wichita, Pittsburg, Kansas City and Hutchinson. Amateur boxing is popular at Kansas State College, Kansas University, Haskell Institute, and St. Benedict's College. A wrestling tournament is conducted annually by the Kansas High School Association.

Harness racing, a highly developed and popular sport which declined between 1929 and 1934, has enjoyed a recent revival. Race meetings are held at various county affairs and at the Topeka and Hutchinson State Fairs. Spring and autumn coursing meets are held at Abilene. Dog and horse races are annual features at Dodge City. Lawrin, winner of the Kentucky Derby in 1938, was foaled and trained at the Woolford Farms of Herbert Wolf in Johnson County. Polo, almost unknown in the Middle West until a few years ago, is played at Topeka, Wichita, and other major cities.

Acutely aware that its chief places of recreation were the corner lot and the malarial "swimmin' hole," urban Kansas, beginning with the establishment of a playground system at Topeka in 1912, turned its attention toward acquiring suitable recreational facilities. Today there is scarcely a town with a population of more than 1,500 that lacks a golf course, a swimming pool, tennis courts, and baseball diamonds. A recreational program is now being carried on by the WPA in 121 communities.