#1. In which of these sports would you NOT hear a call of "Out of bounds"?
Many sports are played on a court or field with marked boundaries, and play stops when the ball (or other object, such as a shuttlecock, which is the focus of play) goes outside the boundary. Sometimes this means that one player or team scores a point, sometimes it means that control changes to the other player or team. While synchronized swimming takes place in a pool, which does provide boundaries, there is no explicit area to which they must confine themselves as they perform.
#2. An ice hockey player, near the goal their team is defending, hits the puck towards a teammate. If the teammate does not collect the puck, and the puck travels all the way across the middle of the rink and across the goal line at the other end before any other player makes contact, what infraction may be called?
If the puck happens to enter the goal, it scores, and there is no icing. The penalty may also not be applied if the team is playing short-handed (due to a player in the penalty box). When icing is called, play restarts with a faceoff at the faceoff spot closest to where the puck was originally hit.
#3. A golfer with too many clubs in their bag will receive a penalty, details of which depend on the particular competition. Is there a minimum number of clubs that they must carry?
The rules of golf state that no player may have more than 14 clubs in their bag. There is no statement as to exactly what they need to be, but typically will include a standard set of 12, with the last two chosen to suit the player’s game. The basic twelve clubs are: driver, 3-wood and 5-wood (the wooden-headed clubs); seven iron-headed clubs, numbered 3-9 to describe the different angles; a pitching wedge and a putter. There is no minimum number – if you want to carry a single club, and try to reach the green using a putter, or sink it into the hole using the driver, you are free to do so.
#4. In what sport might you hear the umpire call, "Foul ball"?
In a baseball field, the straight lines extending from home plate through each of first base and third base define the side boundaries of play. If a ball is hit that does not stay within those lines before it hits the ground (or clears the fence to be called a home run), it is called a foul ball. A foul ball counts as a strike against the batter, unless it would be the third strike; in that case, it just doesn’t count at all. If a ball crosses the line after bouncing, it is still a fair ball.
#5. A player of association football (aka soccer) holds their arm in front of their face to keep an incoming ball from hitting them on the nose, and the ball bounces off their forearm. A teammate then takes control of the ball. Will the other team be awarded a penalty kick?
The rules about handball can be really tricky to apply! Only the goalie is allowed to handle the ball (and then only inside the goal area), and any other player who makes contact with their arm or hand may be called for a handball offence, which awards the other team a free kick or penalty. There are a number of exemptions, such as the ball having bounced off their own body first, the ball hitting them as they are falling and extended an arm to break their fall, and so on. In this case, there would not have been a handball call, as the use of the hand was not in order to “make their body appear unnaturally bigger” (i.e., stretching out for the ball). However, had the ball ricocheted into goal, that would have been a different matter.
#6. Men's lacrosse is played with ten players on each side. If a team has fewer than four players in their defensive half of the field, what violation will be called?
Each team must have at least four players (the goalie and three others) in their defensive half of the field, and three in the offensive half. This leaves three who are free to roam. If a defensive player has possession and decides to carry the ball upfield towards their scoring goal, the team needs to make sure that someone else moves to the defensive half before the midline is crossed, or the team will lose possession of the ball.
Women’s lacrosse is played with twelve players to a side, and the offside rule is slightly different. They require no more than seven of the eleven field players (not counting the goalie) to be in either the defensive or offensive third of the field at any one time. The other four can be anywhere in the other two-thirds of the field, but generally position themselves in the middle third, ready to get involved when play moves towards the other end.
#7. In gridiron football, as played in the United States and Canada, how many times in a single block of plays (called a down) can players on one team pass the ball towards another member of their team who is closer to the scoring goal than they are?
This is called a forward pass, and can only be done once in each block of plays. However, the ball can be passed to another player who is level with the passer, or further away from the goal than they are, as many times as desired. This is called a lateral pass – more precisely, Americans call it a backward pass and Canadians an onside pass – and is similar to the type of pass allowed in many other football games in which a forward pass is illegal. However, if the receiver is judged to be marginally ahead of the passer, the play will be ruled as a forward pass. This error is sometimes called a forward lateral, the oxymoron indicating both what was intended and what eventuated.
#8. If a basketball player is called for traveling, which of these might the player have done?
Dribbling, or bouncing the ball while running, is the required way to move around the court while in possession of the basketball. (Players who are not in control of the ball can move freely, of course!) While it is bouncing, the player can take as many steps as they wish, but if it is in contact with their hand, they may only take a limited number of steps. (The details of this vary with competitions, and also change over time, so I won’t try to describe the rule any more precisely than that.) Any more is called traveling, and the player must hand the ball over to the opposition. If the player holds the ball in both hands, that ends the dribble, and they must then pass it to another player or take a shot at goal.
#9. A volleyball player mishits the ball, so then hits it again to create a more effective shot. What violation will be called?
The rules of volleyball state that each team may hit the ball a maximum of three times before it must be on the other team’s side of the net, but no player can hit it twice in a row. A double hit gives the other team a point. So no matter how badly you muff a shot, it is important to get out of the way so that a teammate can sort it out.
#10. Which of these calls in tennis will NEVER mean the opponent immediately gets a point?
A let is called when the server hits the net, but the ball then lands in play. (There are other times when an umpire may tell players to play a let, but this is the most common one.) It means the serve is ignored, and the point is replayed as if that first one never happened.
A fault is called if the ball does not land in the service area, whether or not it has touched the net, or if the server did not have both feet behind the base line. If it happens on the first serve, no point is awarded; if it is the second serve for that point, the receiver gets the point. A ball is called out if it does not land in the court; on a serve, that might mean a fault or a point for the receiver; in play, the player who hit it out loses the point. Not up is rarely heard, and describes the situation where the ball has bounced twice before the player could hit it. They lose the point.