” If winning isn’t everything, why do they keep score?” (Vince Lombardi)
In this modern era of digital information overload, how do scoreboards capture my live sports attention during baseball/football season at home? Tradition holds that competitive game action for me should hold my interest firmly to the winning and losing end. Yet at major league baseball games, I now find myself impatiently overlooking each inning by inning compilation of player/team statistics on the big, Jumbotron scoreboard. Under these unusual circumstances, I instead long for a strong personal connection unrelated to the game experience. Likewise, I find myself consistently ignoring the unfolding drama of gridiron battle on the field now at an NFL football game in favor of the dazzling sensory blast of pure entertainment energy emanating from the giant video screen above.
I realize, however, that the expanded functions of today’s scoreboards have resonated deep seated meanings in our road trip travels. Picture for example, the end of our long and tedious driving days on our road trips. In the relaxed setting of a small town baseball park, curious glances at the scoreboard have revealed to me a vital community connection of where I am and why am I are visiting there.
In visits to college campuses, you might also imagine my thrill at re-experiencing youthful enthusiasm as I join in with the lively masses of at a college football game in a scoreboard barrage of “rah rah” energy. Or on those more sedentary occasions when the weather turns bad or I do not feel up to driving, the multifaceted features of the IPhone/I Pad becomes my main ticket to experiencing new scoreboard mania.
So imagine it’s game day again and settle into the following photographs of scoreboard impressions from our recent travels.
I long for the days when you would leisurely watch a live Major League game with strict focus on inning progress with a paper scorecard in hand and an occasional glance at a simple scoreboard.
Sadly, however, only Fenway Park in Boston and Wrigley Field in Chicago remains as authentic reminders of the old days of manually operated scoreboards that strictly focused on key game statistics in Major League Baseball games.
So I often lose concentration on the game these days as I stare constantly at the ever changing collage of information offered by the Jumbotron scoreboard. Notice how many people in the photo below are not actually watching the game action on the field.
Such non-game communication with game spectators on digital scoreboards at times breeds narcissistic silliness. Why not watch the game instead?
Judging by the woman depicted on the screen, I could also fulfill my own sports fantasies in digital magic. Where have you gone, Eric Stamets?
Would you oppose as I would this historic backdrop along this centerfield wall becoming torn down for another Jumbotron scoreboard?
In similar fashion, would you prefer as I do an unobstructed view of gorgeous San Francisco Bay or a new, information cluttered Jumbotron?
Maybe a better use of big board” scoreboards would be to disdain selfie hedonism and offer greater hope to unify our much divided country.
Perhaps the future of scoreboards will evolve into more artistic forms of creative expression. Would you recognize this recently discarded sculpture as post- home run fireworks gadgetry at Marlins Park.
So in spite of my reticence to change scoreboard tradition, I too have become “hooked” on the much needed, positive energy of “big board”digital glitz.
Perhaps then the magic mania of scoreboards will help the Miami Dolphins to finally win one this Sunday.