Contact In Sports

Brian O'Connor, Senior Staff Writer

Many sports have physical contact with others as an aspect of the game. But it’s the extent of contact in the course of actual play, that lays down acceptable limits.

Football is a violent sport where there is contact in every single play. The nature of football where there is so much physical contact makes for exciting play which attracts many fans.

Hockey is another sport where both contact and skill are required. Within hockey, some players are actually known as enforcers, players who are responsible for making sure the superstars don’t get “cheap-shotted.” These players also help to build up energy when the team is slowing down. These enforcers hold a job that is unwanted by many and chosen by few. Fighting is something that is unique to the sport itself where there is a code of honor among those who are willing to drop the gloves and sacrifice their bodies regularly.

Baseball, is a game of technique and skill where the nature of the sport is not as physical as hockey, but a very skilled, and one set on tradition. Every so often you might see a batter charge the mound after the pitcher because he felt getting hit by the ball was intentional. In fact, there are situations where a pitcher might hit a batter with the ball intentionally. This usually results in the batter charging the mound and both teams clearing the dugouts.

In basketball there is speed and big bodies which makes for contact in some situations, but there is a fine line of what might be considered too much contact. There is contact that just comes along with the play, but if there is any pushing or shoving after the play that is seen as crossing the line. In hockey and football pushing and shoving goes on almost  all the time after the whistle of every play, but it is overshadowed by the violent and disruptive hits delivered during play.

The contact that exists within the play of each sport is acceptable through the varied sports. This contact is what happens after the play is over. The contact that is seen as crossing the line is also varied in each sport. In hockey that contact after a whistle can lead to a fight and then play resumes, in football there is always pushing and shoving after a play, in baseball there is always the occasional pitcher who will intentionally hit a batter with the ball, and in basketball any contact after a whistle is seen as crossing the line.

Each sport has its own boundaries for what is considered too much contact.