If it's a column, why isn't it in one row?

May 11, 2004|by TIM KOELBLE

It's a week when there is no definitive opinion on anything that is going on in the world of sports. All is good in fantasy baseball with another win, which somehow was more important to me than my Cleveland Indians losing a three-game set to Baltimore.

Therefore, with tongue in cheek, let's get on deck with some discussions similar to why we park in a driveway and drive on a parkway.

n BASEBALL: The title of the sport is cool. The ball is pitched, you hit the ball and you run the bases. But there are two questions that come up.

First, why do we call it the World Series? This is in the United States only.

Second, of the nine fielding positions, eight are appropriately named but how is it "shortstop" came about?

Well, digging into some scrapbooks, I found in the mid-1800s the fourth fielder usually played on the left side because most everyone batted right-handed and was positioned about 20 feet closer to home plate than the other fielders because the ball was fatter and heavier than today.

  • FOOTBALL: Where did the name come from? It's not played with our feet. That belongs to soccer. Shouldn't it be called "fieldball," "turball," or something of that nature?

And this one has always been a nitpicking item of mine. Why do announcers and most all reporters refer to a fumble being "recovered" by the opposing team? That is not true. It would only be recovered by the team that lost the fumble.

  • BASKETBALL: Why do we have field goals in basketball? It's not football and not played on a field.

I know they don't do it for practice, but why do men coaches wear suits and women wear pantsuits for game?. They don't in other sports and they certainly don't in practice.

And the backboard ... it's no longer a board that's holding up the rim.

  • BOWLING: Why is it called an alley? That's normally a spot reserved for cat fights. Or lanes? Are we in the right- or left-turn lanes?

And how about bowling itself? I'm not eating out of one ... maybe we should call it "pinning" and don't tell me about duckpins. There aren't any duck-like images that are targets.

  • CRICKET: You think I'm looking that one up? Only if I go back to Ireland or Scotland for a firsthand report ... ribbitt, ribbitt.

  • HORSESHOES: Are we throwing our shoes at horses?

  • RUGBY: The best thing to say about rugby is it likens to soccer with tackling added. American football had rules of rugby until 1905. The following year the forward pass was introduced to the game and our football was born.<.ul>

    Did you know Dr. James Naismith declared rugby his first love? He created basketball while searching ways to train his Illinois football players indoors.

    Boris Karloff was a standout rugby forward from Hungary and founded the Southern California Rugby football Union in 1935.

    Pope John Paul, representing his native Poland, was a flanker in international play; Sen. Ted Kennedy played at Harvard; former president Bill Clinton played while a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford. There are more sports that could be included such as polo, water polo, tennis, lawn bowling, boche ball and tiddly winks.

    There you have it. Today's food for thought and history lesson on rugby.

    Tim Koelble is a staff writer for The Herald-Mail. His column appears every other Tuesday. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2311, or by e-mail at|None

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