My girlfriend recently showed me a 1908 yearbook in which several women are marked as playing "Poos-ball" or "Poosball." An internet search for this reveals mostly misspellings of "Foosball," however, if the search is specific enough, the most common relevant results lead back to this same high school in Cincinnati. An example and, a photo of the "A grade Girls' Poos Ball team"! picture of a sports team lying on the floor looking up to face the camera The question, of course, is what is Poos Ball? By the ball size, seems like soccer, volleyball, basketball, and water polo are the best bets. All four were invented prior to 1908, though the latter three sports would have been relatively new. However, there is no mention on the internet of any of these being formerly named Poosball! Thoughts?

  • First link seems to be broken - Can you check it? May 28, 2014 at 4:15
  • Link seems to work for me still, but an alternate way of finding it is to google the following: with quotes, google "poosball team", and then under 'showing results for', click 'Search instead for "poosball team"'. All the hits for me are old Hughes HS yearbooks. May 28, 2014 at 14:58
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    Works for me now also. Maybe the server was offline last night. May 28, 2014 at 21:44
  • Thank you all for sharing your sources. I first saw reference to Center Ball in my Grandmother's 1916 Hughes High School Annual. I was curious if it was similar to Netball. We appreciate your sharing the rules, we three historians were curious.
    – user49300
    Mar 23, 2021 at 13:12
  • Just for the record, although the capitalization of "Poos Ball" offends me, it is consistent with the sources mentioned - even "Center Ball" and "End Ball" are capitalized in the sources. I'm jotting down this note to remind me the next time I see this question and try to normalize the capitalization to standard English usage.
    – MCW
    Mar 23, 2021 at 13:31

3 Answers 3


Apparently, Poosball was an indoor game similar to basketball. It was also known as center ball and captain ball.

According to Volume 30 of Mind and Body (1923) it was invented by Dr. E. A. Poos in 1890 while at the Woodward High School in Cincinnati. Dr Poos wrote a booklet about the game, but I don't have access to its contents.

The game is also mentioned in:

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    Dang. Damn shame my grandmother-in-law died last year, or I could have asked her about it. She grew up across the river from Cincinnati, was an athlete, and for a time a High School principal there.
    – T.E.D.
    May 29, 2014 at 14:16
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    !THAT! is how to present a well researched answer on an obscure topic. I can only vote up once.
    – MCW
    May 29, 2014 at 14:20
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    @MarkC.Wallace well, technically you can assign a bounty ;)
    – o0'.
    Apr 18, 2015 at 8:01

Scroll down to where it begins with CAPTAINBALL in Mind and Body or the original version of centerball.

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    This would be improved by including the relevant paragraphs in your answer since links can become invalid.
    – Steve Bird
    Sep 8, 2019 at 17:35
  • It's an electronic copy of a book, and I don't seem to have an option to copy/paste from said book.
    – Tony
    Sep 8, 2019 at 17:36
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    You don't seem to be adding anything to the already accepted answer, which already discusses the relationship with *captain ball and center ball. Sep 8, 2019 at 17:45

I'm guessing this is what the game has turned into. I'm not finding any American references to the game any longer. But some overseas countries seem to like it. Here are the rules/How To Play

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    You should edit this into the other answer since its dependent on the content of that. Sep 8, 2019 at 18:13

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