Know the Game

Alison Tsai

The sports world has stadiums full of enthusiastic fans, many of whom have extensive knowledge of the specifics of their favorite game. However, there are many people who have no idea as to what is happening while they watch a game.

“I learned sports rules from TV and movies,” senior Zobia Iftikhar said.

Below are guides to help an aspiring sports expert understand the basics of basketball, football and baseball.

In a basketball game, two teams with five players each compete against each other to score the most points. A team consists of a point guard, a shooting guard, a power forward, a small forward and a center. Points are scored by passing the ball through the opponent’s basket; baskets are mounted at a height of 10 feet on either end of the court. If a basket is made from behind the three-point line, the scoring team is awarded three points. If the basket is made from within the three-point line, two points are scored. When moving around the court, players must dribble at all times. If a foul occurs, the fouled player has an opportunity to score one point with a foul shot. At the end of a game, if the teams are tied, overtime periods are played until a winner is determined.

“Know your play charts and know someone who has a history with the sport,” junior Mohammad Jaber said. “Basketball is pretty easy to understand.”

Baseball, America’s favorite sport, is played on a field with four bases that form a diamond. The game is divided into nine innings; each inning, both teams have an opportunity to score runs until they get three outs. The team playing defense has a pitcher; a catcher; a first, a second and a third baseman; a shortstop; and a left, a center and a right fielder. The team playing offense has two positions: hitter and base runner. Home runs are scored when a player on the offensive team makes it around all four bases.

“It’s a low-key game,” senior Jonathon South said. “It’s a very team-acclimated sport.”

Football is played on a 120-foot long grass field with 22 players (11 from each team) on the field at a time. The team playing offense (the team in possession of the ball) has a quarterback, offensive linemen, receivers and running backs. The team on defense is made up of defensive linemen, linebackers, cornerbacks and safeties. When a team kicks the ball, a special-teams unit (placekicker, punter and returner) is used. When a team takes possession of the ball, it is given four downs (attempts to advance the ball a total of 10 yards). If the team makes the 10 yards, it is given another four downs. Points can be earned through a variety of methods: a touchdown (six points), a two-point conversion (two points), a field goal (three points) or a safety (2 points). Each game has four 15-minute quarters, with an additional 15-minute overtime period in the event of a tie.

“I see a lot of football because I’m in marching band,” junior Lala Xu said. “If you see a sport a lot you’ll eventually understand it, but if you’re interested in it you’ll learn it faster.”