Sports Terminology 101

Everyone has been influenced by sports. So you have never played, and you don’t follow a team – you have still been effected. From advertisements to the ever-controversial Janet Jackson “incident” at the Super Bowl, sports affect everyone. Why not pay attention to something that will affect you for as long as it exists? “I like going to games, but I don’t understand what I’m watching,” Riverside City College athlete Katelyn Janke said when speaking of football.

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By Tamara Hoyt

By Tamara Hoyt

Everyone has been influenced by sports. So you have never played, and you don’t follow a team – you have still been effected. From advertisements to the ever-controversial Janet Jackson “incident” at the Super Bowl, sports affect everyone. Why not pay attention to something that will affect you for as long as it exists?

“I like going to games, but I don’t understand what I’m watching,” Riverside City College athlete Katelyn Janke said when speaking of football. Today I plan to bring this ignorance to an end. For the remainder of the semester, flip to the sports sections every two weeks to see the sports terminology for a different sport that is happening at your school.

Modern day football started in 1916. There are currently 32 professional teams in the National Football League (NFL) from across the country.

Some common terms used in football include punt, fair catch, line of scrimmage, touchdown, field goal, point after touchdown, and sack. To further develop these ideas lets run through a game.

The game begins with the kick-off; the ball is placed on a stand and kicked off the ground. The receiving team can catch the ball and run it back in an attempt to gain yardage or may call for a fair catch. They wave their arms above their heads to signal. After the signal is given no opponent may interfere with the catcher, the ball or his path to the ball and the receiver can’t advance the ball. The ball will be dead at the place of contact. This line becomes the line of scrimmage.

Once the kick off play ends the clock stops so that the offensive team can come to the field. Now I’m sure your wondering, if the team who caught the ball isn’t offense, who are they? They are called a special team. A special team is a team that plays in irregular offensive or defensive situations. These situations include a kickoff, kick return, a punting, punt return, field goal and field goal blocking team.

The offensive team’s goal is to advance the ball up the field to score a touchdown or kick a field goal. This is done by running the ball or passing the ball up the field. The ball is started at the line of scrimmage; the line perpendicular to the sidelines that passes through the ball. The ball is snapped, or transferred from the center line man to the quarterback, and is then thrown or handed off.

A touchdown is scored when a player runs the ball into or catches a pass in the end zone. It is worth six points. A field goal is scored when ball is kicked between the “U” shaped posts in the end zone and is worth three points. The Riverside City College team has been averaging almost 21 points per game, or three touchdowns with a point after touchdown. A point after touchdown, or “PAT” is an extra point scored after a touchdown. The scoring team has the option of kicking a field goal for one extra point or running an extra play for two extra points. You can also score two points by forcing the offensive team into the end zone behind them. This is called a safety.

The team with the most points wins.

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