The initial blow of a game of conkers is claimed by the first player to quote one of the sport's traditional preliminaries. The most venerated, which, alas, is rarely heard in these indifferent times, goes:
"Obli, obli-o, my first go—
And when the nut is struck
Obli, obli-onker, my nut will conquer."
ODD MAN OUT
Almost unnoticed, Bill Chambers, the basketball coach at William and Mary for the past eight years, has resigned to go into business. Chambers is an original thinker, but his views weren't greatly noticed, either; Williamsburg, Va. hasn't been a major news-dissemination center since 1780.
Chambers' principal contention is that if basketball were played with four men on a side the game would be faster, the floor less congested, and the fans could better appreciate the moves.
"Today basketball is played by three and sometimes two men on any given offensive maneuver," Chambers says. "Never are all five involved. With zone defenses clogging up the court, with players so big, with court width restricted, why not reduce the team to four men? The fifth man almost never figures in a play toward the basket. Coaches plan plays with at least one man told to just clear out, get out of the way, take one man with him. If that's so, why have him on the floor at all?"
A man wearing a blazer with a Dallas Cowboy emblem was walking up the steps of the Cotton Bowl just before the game with Cleveland last week, when a stranger stopped him and said:
"I see by your outfit that you are a Cowboy. I have traveled nigh onto 325 miles getting here, and I can't get a ticket. Is there any way in this sorry world you know of I can get into this game?"
Replied the man in the blazer: "I will let you use a spare box-seat stub of mine to get in the gate, seeing you have come so far."