[426/441] Starting Lineup

At sporting events, the athletes who will be competing first are often introduced to the crowd.  The announcer frequently will call this the Starting Lineup.  But, after thinking about it a bit, there is an implication of Starting Lineup that I find, but perhaps this post will seem like over-analysis.  Let’s have a look!

Each sport has different rules for substitutions.  For example, in basketball and American football, a team is allowed an unlimited number of substitutions (although of course, they must happen when the ball is not in play, i.e. in dead ball situations).  Hockey and lacrosse both allow unlimited substitutions as well, and in addition, allow substitutions “on the fly.”  That is, while the puck or ball is in play, players can substitute, subject to certain rules to avoid “Too Many Players” penalties.

Substitutions are allowed, but limited, in volleyball, baseball, and Association football (i.e. soccer).  Volleyball allows up to 12 subs per team, per set. For a team in baseball, a player may not return to the game after being subbed out. And in soccer, you better be a good runner, since at the professional level, each team may only make 3 substitutions during the entire match, and a player who leaves may not return!

The term “Starting Lineup” is also used to describe the schedule of matches in wrestling and tennis meets at Northwestern.  However, I find that the use of the word “Starting” poses a strange connotation.  In particular, notice the previous sports that I mentioned all allow substitution of players.  Well, in tennis and wrestling meets, each match or bout allows no substitutions of players–if a player is unable to finish, they lose by forfeit.

Therefore, I think that “Starting Lineup” is a bad term to describe the schedule of matches in these latter two sports.  But, is there a better term that rolls off the tongue well? Let me know!


Today is the four-hundred and twenty-sixth day of Mission 441. Fifteen days remain.


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