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History of the WFA


Art Jesswein, a small town Wisconsin resident, was stationed as a soldier in Bamberg, Germany in 1956/57. During his time there, Art attended the Bavarian Junior Fistball Championships and saw the game for the first time in his life. After returning home, He rejoined the Deutsche Athletic Club(DAC) in Milwaukee where it was discovered that fistball was played competitively in the 1920's and 30's. One of the old fistball players, Fritz Krause, introduced the basics of the game and the seeds for fistball in Wisconsin were planted.

At every available opportunity, Art and his friends would play fistball for fun until 1963 when they began regular Sunday morning practices at Sherman Park in Milwaukee. During this time, the Friends of Nature (F.O.N.) camp grounds was visited by some fistball players and it was discovered that fistball was being played by a group in Chicago.

In 1964 Willie Hammacher and Art Jesswein established personal contacts with teams from Chicago and the East Coast. This was the beginning of a long lasting relationship with the Chicago group that included alternating tournaments at the Genoa City camp and F.O.N. With tournament experience under their belt, the players formed a 4 team league in 1965. All games were played with friends and family in attendance as spectators.

At the end of the season, in November 1965, the Wisconsin Fistball Association (WFA) was formally founded and established local playing guidelines in conjunction with International Fistball Rules.  In 1968, the WFA began competing internationally and traveled to Winnipeg, Canada to compete in their first International Fistball Association (IFA) tournament.

Over the years, the WFA has continued to grow into what it is today.  We currently have 4 Men's Teams and 3 Women's Teams.  Games are still played on Sunday mornings in the summer just as they were over 50 years ago.

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May 2017