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The Importance of Hitting the Line in Sports

Posted September. 18, 2009 08:39,   


Tennis star Serena Williams has been fined 10,000 U.S. dollars for her tirade against a line judge who erroneously called a foot fault in the women’s semifinals of this year’s U.S. Open. Players cannot step on the end lines of the court while serving.

In basketball, a player can cross the end line while inbounding the ball. Many players, not to mention fans, are unaware of the rule. Yet if a player with the ball steps on the line or gets the ball to touch the line while dribbling, it is a turnover.

In sports, different rules are applied to different events, often confusing fans and affecting the results of a game.

In most games, balls falling on the sidelines or end lines are not considered out. In baseball, a hit ball falling inside the in-field line but bouncing outside of the line is considered fair. One that falls outside of the foul line is also considered fair. Therefore, a long foul ball toward the outfield sometimes becomes a sacrifice fly.

In tennis and soccer, a ball that touches the line even just a little is called safe. Unlike in volleyball, however, a player does not have to throw his or her body to save a ball that flies over the line because it is out of play.

In Korean basketball this season, the three-point line has been expanded 50 centimeters, narrowing the space on both sides of the court. The change increases the possibility that a player on offense will step on the line. Basketball is different from other sports in that lines are considered out of play.

In soccer, the goal line often causes dispute over whether a shot was a goal. Under FIFA rules, a goal is awarded when the ball completely crosses the 12 centimeter-wide goal line under the crossbar. If a goalkeeper blocks an incoming ball over the line, it is no goal.

In a World Cup qualifier between South and North Korea in April, a header by a North Korean striker blocked by the South Korean goalie near the line was ruled no goal, sparking a heated debate among Internet users.

In golf, Koo Ok-hee won the 1988 LPGA Standard Register Ping Golf Tournament after her ball went to an out-of-bounds area but bounced back onto the field.

In baseball, a bunt that goes over the infield line but comes back into the ground is called “safe.”

If a golf ball sits on the out-of-bounds line, a player can go on with the game without getting a penalty. If a ball is placed on the hazard line marked in red or yellow, however, it is considered “hazard.”

A Korean LPGA official said, “In golf, most rules are based on the final location of a hit ball.”