stand-apart-magazine

The Case for abolishing the Scoreboard

Gibran Hamdan

sport

The Case for abolishing scoreboards

save the electricity

Iwant to make this clear - I don’t believe in participation trophies. I'm all for keeping score and defining winners and losers. With that said - I HATE SCOREBOARDS. Although it's disputed I will give the infamous distinction of first scoreboard ever to Penn University. Penn opened Franklin Field in 1895 - with the first scoreboard on record.

Then in 1908 George A. Baird had to come along and invent the first electronic baseball scoreboard. Team owners hesitated to introduce them for fear they would cut profits from paper scorecards patrons had used up to that point.

Oh how I wish they would’ve let George’s idea wither in the wind.

 

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I didn’t watch the Super Bowl this year but needless to say I bet Dan Quinn and the Falcons wish my crazy notion would have taken hold years ago. Look players and coaches are human - they looked up, saw the score, and acted accordingly. From recounts of the game - play calls changed, players that had been making incredible plays - stopped. Some will say the pressure got to the individuals involved - I say b.s. They looked up at the scoreboard and did what pretty much every human on planet earth did when the Falcons were up big - they thought the thing was over.

Can you imagine if the Falcons - coaches, players, and the owner for that matter - looked at the scoreboard to find it broken coming out of halftime?

All dark - no power.

Coaches know what the down and distance is - they don’t need the scoreboard to remind them. Players don’t need the scoreboard to tell them how they should execute the next play. Shouldn’t coaches call the best play call they can based on the situation and not the score? Shouldn’t a player hear the play call and execute to the best of his ability regardless of what the score?

It’s tough to look up at the scoreboard, see that your winning by a bunch of points, and keep the same focus and intensity you had when your brain said the game was still in the balance.

In my years as a ball player if we were down at halftime the coach would work in the “keep playing for 60 minutes things will turn around”.

Vice versa if we were up at halftime you’d hear “don’t let up - it’s a 60 minute game”. Wouldn’t they love to take that out of their mandatory half-time vernacular.

But you may say how would you keep score - would the players know it anyway? I'm sure the score is already kept by hand as a backup to the scoreboard failing. With regards to players knowing - I don’t think it’s a big deal. Most players want to make plays. They want to make every play they can every chance they get.

Again keep score - save the energy bill. Save the fans, coaches, and players from sore necks.

When the focus on the scoreboard dissipates - the purity and joy of the actual game builds.

Boxers box. The nature of the sport doesn’t even allow you to lower your guard - you literally may get knocked out. Sure the corner gets a sense of how the fight is going - they may adjust the strategy of how they attack the next round but they can never be sure what those three judges are thinking.

The sport is not perfect by any means - that is a different article - but watching a great fight can be pure bliss and you never know the score.

Boxing is one example - there are plenty more.

Formula 1 drivers race.

Golfers should golf - sure there is a scoreboard but it’s not essential. Shoot they keep their own score. How many golf tourneys have been lost by looking at the scoreboard and allowing that to determine how to play the hole.

Soccer doesn’t need a visual scoreboard for fans or players to enjoy it.



You probably know where I’m going with this……………………..

I’m on a quest to remove all the "electronic" scoreboards in my life. Sure I am keeping score - but on my own terms. After all most of the "electronic" scoreboards have been placed there by my adult self influenced by society/adults/counterparts. I bet that my 3 year old self’s scoreboard would not be electrical. It would involve some printer paper and crayons.

Who am I kidding - 3 year olds are too busy making plays to look up at an unnecessary electronic scoreboard.

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