The history of the athletic cup is a forgotten one. Bound to the depths of a funky, swampy place, the apparatus is an unnoticeable part of our uniforms. Consider this list a wake-up call. Take notes, ’cause you’ll never know when your next sack-tapping will be.
1. In 1874, the indubitably brilliant Charles Bennet of Sharp & Smith, a Chicago-based sporting goods company, had the vision of creating an athletic supporter for men that would allow them to ride bikes with comfortable junk. The device he invented to remedy what was once called “floppy man parts” was the “bike jockey strap,” and it forever changed the sporting world.
2. Three decades later, in 1904, baseball catcher Claude Berry brought “the cup” to the playing field. Worried about his safety, the over-cautious Berry started to wear them during games. Apparently a fastball to the nads isn’t all that pleasant.
3. In 1920, Joe Cartledge of the Guelph Elastic Hosiery Company began to sell cups commercially under the name “Protex.” The extra ball protection that Protex provided became attractive to early hockey players who didn’t so much mind losing their teeth but really wanted to hang on to their balls.
4. Over the years the cup was remodeled to fit different types of athletes but it has yet to be made entirely indestructible. Legendary Cincinnati Reds catcher Johnny Bench proved that by breaking seven cups during his career.
5. Ventilation, moisture transport, multistage impact protection and ergonomic design are some of the nice innovations that have been made to the unsung hero of our genitalia.
6. Ball trauma accounts for less than 1 percent of all traumas in the U.S. each year.
7. The last great innovation in cup technology came with the invention of the NuttyBuddy, which promises unprecedented levels of comfort while “protecting the boys.”
8. The right testis is injured more often than the left because of the greater possibility of trapping it against the pubis.
To learn nothing more about the cup but lots of about football, watch “The Ride” Saturday at 11/10c.