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Pseudo History

          Games of people poking each other have existed since pre-historic times. None of them were very fun and most were slightly painful. It wasn’t until 1250 BC before a poking game would become a sporting phenomenon. A group of Israelites led by Moses were camped at a site known as Phalanges. Then the angel of the Lord came down and spoke through Moses. He gave them an amazing gift, which the ancient Israelites referred to as "finger spearing." The chosen people were happy since now they had something with which they could entertain themselves.

          For over a thousand years, the Israelites prospered until 63 BC. A vast army of Roman soldiers came down and took control of the holy lands. While under Roman law, the Israelites would gamble with the Romans for land, property, and honor. One of the more played gambling games was finger spearing. The Romans eventually adopted the sport and brought it back to Rome. There it was used in the Coliseum as a milder form of gladiatorial events. The sport spread through out the Roman Empire including a little place in northwest Asia Minor known as Nicaea. There in 325 AD, one hundred Catholic bishops met to discuss the Arian controversy and the date of Easter. The books in the Bible, as some extremists believe, were not chosen at Nicaea though along with the Arian controversy, one book was debated on to see if it was religiously inspired. That manuscript was the Book of Phalanges. The ecumenical council decided that the book probably did not have divine inspiration. They sent it back to Jerusalem where it vanished.

          Then in 476 AD the Roman Empire fell. With it went culture, technology, and finger spearing. All records of the sport were gone and people were forced to play Rock Paper Scissors. This period in time was known as the Dark Ages. That all changed in 1099 when Jerusalem was raided in the First Crusade. Among some of the ancient historic artifacts found was a curious manuscript that was sent to scholars in England to be translated. The book was made into English, and the Hebrew form of the words “finger spearing” was changed to “finger jousting.” This newly found sport spread throughout England and into Western Europe.

          In 1139 the Catholic Church outlawed crossbows and finger jousting in an effort to reduce the carnage in war. The ban on crossbows was repealed in a few decades, but finger jousting was still illegal. The consent of the Church was that finger jousting was more harmful and evil than crossbows. Jousters had to practice in secret for more than two hundred years until the Great Schism in 1378. In an attempt to reduce the amount of Christians splitting away from Catholicism, the Church repealed its ban on finger jousting. The bold move helped the Church, but many of those who had split away did not like finger jousting and decided to join the Orthodox Church.

          For the next few hundred years finger jousting prospered. Events were held at real jousting tournaments as side shows. In 1439 Joan of Arc was being attacked by the British at Orleans. To raise the morale of her troops, she held weekly finger jousting tournaments. This caused the French to eventually win the war.

          In the 1500s, Spanish missionaries were sent to the Americas to convert the indigenous people to Catholicism. With them they brought many strange customs, foods, and inventions. Among those was finger jousting. The Native Americans would finger joust against the “white men” for land. Unfortunately for them, they would lose the land anyway.

          The next big event happened in 1692 in Salem, Massachusetts—a place of major witch activity. One of the ways the people figured out if a woman was a witch or not was to have a priest finger joust her. If the priest lost, then the woman was a witch who used the powers of Satan against him; thus she was killed. If the priest won, then the woman was a witch whose Satanic powers were defeated by the power of God; thus she was killed. Many witches died at the hand of finger jousting that year.

          On April 18th, 1775, the British red coats finger jousted the American patriots at Concord and Lexington; it was the joust heard ‘round the world. After that the real battle began, and the British suffered extensive losses. The American win has been attributed to the powerful right arm of Paul Revere who happened to be an expert jouster.

          The 1800s saw many advances in science and engineering. Among those were the transcontinental railroads. Thanks to this new form of travel, the east was better connected with the west. The easterners who were going to California for the gold rush brought the sport of finger jousting with them. Finger jousting finally became a nationally recognized sport in the United States.

          Finger jousting advanced like never before in the early 1900s. In 1905 Albert Einstein was watching a finger jousting match when he contemplated on his Special Theory of Relativity. He theorized that if two people finger jousted at the speed of light then their fingers would occupy all points of space at the same time. This would result in a point and illegal lance for each player instantaneously. Thus it would be a complete stalemate.

          One of the more important events in the early part of the century was the sinking of the Titanic. The major reason why the Titanic haphazardly hit the iceberg was because the captain and first mate were having a finger jousting match in the cabin. When they found out that the ship was heading for an iceberg, it was too late. The sinking of the Titanic was the largest finger jousting related catastrophe since the Salem witch trials. Events like those have given a bit of bad press to the sport.

          Each decade following the sinking of the Titanic had at least one major advance in finger jousting. The 1920s saw an influx in corporate parties and the advent of the radio. Business executives would finger joust at parties, and families would gather around radios to listen to finger jousting matches. The 1930s was a bad time for finger jousting because of the Great Depression. Sometimes the poor would partake in the sport to brighten their spirits; sometimes the rich would partake in the sport, because they were happy and bored. The largest event of the 1940s was World War II. Soldiers on the front line would entertain themselves by playing cards, looking at pictures of women, and finger jousting. They did the same things earlier in World War I except they played different card games.

          Pop culture was changed forever in the 1950s with the dawn of Rock and Roll. Many young greasers would hang out at malt shops and joust in the alleyways in their leather jackets. The age of the greaser died out in the 1960s and 70s due to the Vietnam War and the hippy counter-culture. Finger jousting was an important leisure activity for the soldiers in Vietnam like it has been for warriors for thousands of years. On the other hand, most hippies did not finger joust, because they believed in peace and love; they were also too stoned to extend their index fingers. In 1969, a few weeks after landing on the moon, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took a break during an experiment to finger joust; Buzz won. It was the first finger jousting match on another world. They would later joust on a moonwalk also.

          During these times, there were major advances in the reduction of racial and gender discrimination. African Americans were given the legal authority to joust in major tournaments in the 1960s. Less than a score later, a 1978 Supreme Court decision gave women the ability to compete in finger jousting tournaments. These changes were reflected in the new levels of competition and the variance between competitors and strategies.

          In the 1980s and 90s, finger jousting gained a whole new demographic with the increasing number of video game players. They spread the game through out school campuses and comic book stores. Next the Internet came around, and finger jousting was referenced in blogs all over the web.

          Finally in the 21st Century, a young man was practicing for a school play when some older actors were playing a strange sport. The young man found out that the sport was called finger jousting and instantly was hooked. In the summer of 2005 he founded the first international organization dedicated to finger jousting; that organization is the World Finger Jousting Federation.

          No one knows what future lies ahead for the little sport that could. Some historians believe that finger jousting will prosper while others believe it will fail. All that is for certain is that if there is a will, there is a way, and if there is a finger, there is a joust.

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