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From the Archives: Cage ball is introduced by the YWCA

Feb. 16, 1926: Mrs. S. Gross and some of the girls at the Y.W.C.A. playing cage ball, Los Angeles, 1
Feb. 16, 1926: Group portrait of some of the women at the YWCA who play cage ball.
(Los Angeles Times Archive / UCLA)

In 1926, a women's team sport, cage ball, arrived at the YWCA in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Times reported in the Feb. 19, 1926, edition, "It looks as though there's going to be a brand-new fad among the womenfolk as a result of the introduction of cage ball at the Young Women's Christian Association, 941 South Figueroa street."

"If the noise made by the gym classes yesterday is any indication, the game is here to stay. Cage ball is similar to volley ball only a ball three feet in diameter and weighing a little more than five pounds is used. The object is to hurl the ball over a seven-foot net with the aim of getting it down on the opponents' floor to score a point."

This version of cage ball didn't last. Currently, cage ball, also called earth ball, is a soccer-type game played with a 48- to 72-inch diameter air-filled ball.

But the 1926 version of cage ball can be seen in these historic portraits. The photographer probably used a tripod and slow shutter speed. In the group photo above, the young woman on the right holding the ball moved her face during the long exposure.

The first two images in this post appeared in the Feb. 19, 1926, Los Angeles Times.

Feb. 16, 1926: Selma Posner and Lillian Cassel play cage ball at the Y.W.C.A., Los Angeles, 1926 Sel
Feb. 16, 1926: Selma Postner holds the cage ball over her head while Lillian Cassel, a few inches shorter, reaches out to grab it. Los Angeles Times Archive / UCLA
Feb. 16, 1926: A group of cage ball players at the Y.W.C.A., Los Angeles, 1926. This image is from t
Feb. 16, 1926: A group of cage ball players at the YWCA, Los Angeles, 1926. Los Angeles Times Archive / UCLA
Feb. 16, 1926: Charlotte Young plays cage ball at the Y.W.C.A., Los Angeles, 1926. Cage ball has bee
Feb. 16, 1926: Charlotte Young holds a cage ball at the YWCA, Los Angeles, 1926. Los Angeles Times Archive / UCLA

See more from the Los Angeles Times archives here


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