If the scheme works the way it's meant to, the attention of fans, coaches and players will be riveted not only on the main scoreboard but also on an auxiliary scoreboard that will provide a running tally of the quarter being played. With the score, say, 20-17 late in the first period, there would, it's hoped, be heightened excitement as both teams battle to "win" the quarter. Strategy could also be affected. For example, instead of routinely resting a player in foul trouble at the close of the third period, the coach might now be tempted to keep him in the game in hopes of gaining one immediate point in the standings.
CBA Commissioner Jim Drucker says that one of the ideas behind the innovation is to make one-sided games more exciting. "Even when the score is 100-72 going into the fourth period, the fans might stick around to see if the losing team can at least salvage a point in the standings by winning the fourth quarter," Drucker says. But Drucker admits that the experiment could have exactly the opposite effect. "The good teams might now win by even bigger scores, because they'd be less likely to suffer emotional letdowns," he says. "But we'll never know if we don't try it, will we?"
SPLASHING RIGHT ALONG
Not content with having won an unprecedented 31 individual national titles (17 indoors, 14 outdoors) and having broken or equaled five world records and 57 American records (15 of which she currently holds), Tracy Caulkins keeps churning along as the top U.S. woman swimmer. Now 18 and bound for the University of Florida in the fall, the 1978 Sullivan Award winner entered nine individual events at the recent Seventeen magazine Swim Meet of Champions in Mission Viejo, Calif. and won an astonishing six of them while placing third, fourth and sixth in the others. She also swam on three relay teams, one of them victorious, for her Nashville Aquatic Club. As the women's high-point scorer, Caulkins received a 10-speed bicycle, a bracelet, a warmup suit and a $1,500 scholarship, as well as some handsome additions to her already enormous hoard of trophies, of which she says brightly, "The major ones are around the house, others are in safe places, and others are in boxes." Caulkins took her seven-victory performance in stride, witness her poolside exchange with a fan, who told her, "Nice meet, Tracy." Misunderstanding the well-wisher's words—too much water in the ears?—Caulkins replied, "Nice meeting you, too."
THE LONG AND SHORT OF IT
Little Lee Trevino, all 5'1" of him, appeared at an exhibition match in Kansas City the other day with those relative giants, Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson, and seized the occasion to claim that taller golfers get a break when it comes to putting. Citing the putting prowess of 6'5" George Archer and also favorably mentioning the skills of Bruce Lietzke, Jerry Pate and Tommy Valentine, all of them 6-footers or thereabouts, Trevino said, "The best putters have always been tall. They can lean over the ball and putt like a pendulum, back and forth. The shorter you are, the more you have to get away from the ball."
Trevino also claimed that taller players are likelier to last longer. "When you're my size, the older you get the more mobility you lose," he said. "You don't have the arc on your swing. When you're in the 29-33 age range you still get the distance, but when you're older you're not as flexible." Trevino noted that while 5'1" Gary Player was, at 45, having his troubles, 51-year-old Don January, a strapping 6-footer, was contending in many tournaments. "He still has the arc and he can play for a long time," said Trevino.
To which Nicklaus, drawing himself to his full 5'11" said, "Hogwash." Big Jack added, "I don't think just because you are 5'7", you're going to lose flexibility. I think [Trevino] just happened to pick this out because he's having some fun with it. I don't think he really believes it."
But the 5'9" Watson said, "Trevino is right. As you get older the golf swing gets flatter and you can't get the club back as far. When you don't have the flexibility to get the club back as far, you can't hit it as far."