Sports can be an integral part of a child’s development and education, from Little League games to college football conferences, and each season has its own sports. The winter and spring months are reserved for baseball, softball, lacrosse and tennis among others.
While some sports dip into our collective cultural identity, others remain more obscure. The Florida High School Athletic Association helps by outlining every sport among Florida high schools online. Here is a breakdown of the basics behind the season’s most popular sports.
Take Me Out to the Ball Game
The regular season for baseball runs from Feb. 20 to April 29, and the softball season runs from Feb. 13 to April 22. These are two of the few sports featuring asymmetrical play where neither team will have the same number of players on the field at once.
The two sports share much of the same DNA. The pitching team has nine players while the batting team has anywhere between one and four. A player is called out if they hit the ball and the opposing team catches it before it touches the ground, if the player with the ball tags the batter before a base is reached, or if the pitcher throws three pitches without the batter hitting one into play. Once a team gathers three outs, they switch sides. To score a run, one of the batters has to successfully pass each base and return to home plate.
High school baseball and softball are made up of seven-inning games. There is no time limit on innings; instead, they last as long as it takes for both teams to reach three outs.
Softball uses a larger ball and, despite its name, it’s not especially soft. Pitchers also throw the ball underhanded in one motion, unlike baseball, which has a two-step pitch. A myriad of other minutia differentiate the two games, but if the spectator knows the basics of one, he or she can watch the other without skipping a beat.
Learn About Lacrosse
The regular season for lacrosse officially starts on Feb. 6 and continues through April 1.
A team of 12 players is divided between attackers, midfielders, defense and the goalkeeper. The goalkeeper plays inside the crease, or the area in front of the goal. A match consists of two 25-minute halves with a 10-minute break in between.
The goal is to use the lacrosse sticks to carry, throw, pass and shoot a rubber ball into the opponent’s net. At the start of each half, and after every goal, two opposing players go to the center for the draw. A referee places the ball between their stick nets and at the signal they try to recover the ball for their team.
The team with the most goals is the winner. If the game ends in a tie then the teams will go into overtime until a winning goal is scored.
Serving Up Tennis Rules
The regular season for tennis starts on Feb. 13 and ends on April 8.
This is a relatively simple sport to pick up because there are no large teams to keep track of or a list of positions to keep in mind. At most there will be two-on-two matches called doubles, but the most common matches are singles.
There are several key parts to the game. A rally is when the players hit the ball back and forth, the serve is when one player begins a rally, and finally there’s score keeping, and that’s where it starts to get odd. The point values go 15, 30, 40 and game point. If the score hits 40-40, that’s called a deuce. The player needs to score two points in a row to win. The first person to win six games wins the set, and a match is the best of three sets.