Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Scoreboard Pressure

My earliest memories of football (around 1973-4) are of games broadcast on B & W television, from a single, high camera. This was a replay on Sunday, usually after we got home from church. The thing that grabbed me most was the scoreboard! Lovely big white numbers on a black background.

When there was a score – even a lowly behind – there would be a flurry of activity. The goal ump, in those days in a long white coat and hat, would dash across for his single flag, and give it a twirly wave. And the scoreboard would quickly slip from 5 behinds to 6, from 112 points to 113, but the camera would probably be on the fullback kicking out.

If it was a goal, the ump would dash the other way to his two flags and give them the full up, across, back, down, with a degree of flair that varied from 'plenty' to 'Robert Helpmann-esque excess'. In those days the crowd threw miles of streamers (or at Victoria Park, toilet paper), and waved giant pom-poms called floggers that you don't see so much now.

But the best thing about a goal, for 5-year-old me, was seeing the numbers on the scoreboard roll crazily around. [I felt the same thrill when Dad was filling the car up with 'super' at a petrol bowser.] Occasionally a small window would open in the scoreboard, and the mysterious dark world within would be vaguely seen. 'There are people in there!' I thought.

I still love scoreboards. And I am not alone. Recently The Age had an article about a blog called Scoreboard Pressure, documenting beautiful scoreboards across Australia and overseas. It is written by Les in Perth and Vin in Melbourne. I sent them some pics I took in 2008 of the rickety grandstand and tiny scoreboard at Derby in north east Tasmania, and they have published them. Between Vin, myself and one of the blog readers, we have put together a story. If anyone knows any more - please fill me in!

Myponga,SA. Ozzy Osbourne played there. Yep. © Scoreboard Pressure

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