Sure, the Oval scoreboard is interesting but in today’s world of instant information it is a dinosaur — Rex Jory
NOTHING is forever. Everything has a use-by date. A question South Australians must address: what is the use-by date of the scoreboard at Adelaide Oval?
Are we going to leave it standing on the grass at the northern end of the Oval, a relic of the past or should it be moved?
I love the scoreboard. It is beautiful, a wonderful reminder of our heritage, a monument to the grand days of cricket at Adelaide Oval and the permanence and stability of our sporting headquarters.
It evokes memories of my first visit to Adelaide Oval as a small boy. It has been there since 1911 recording the most amazing feats of sporting skill, courage and endurance.
But in a way, that’s the point. It has been there since 1911 — 106 years. In today’s hitech world, where people not only thirst for but expect instant replays and minute details of unfolding events, it is curio, an antique.
It tells us as much about a live football final or a cricket Test match as a fossil tells us about a living animal. Modern electronic scoreboards in stadiums around the world spew out an endless stream of facts and figures.
The Adelaide Oval scoreboard tells us the score. Nothing more.
Yet, in the case of the football finals, it takes up a huge amount of space when 53,000 people are jammed into the rest of the Oval.
Two smaller electronic boards show the play, the scores, the time and a few other bits and pieces.
They merely emphasise that the old scoreboard is a 19th century colossus compet- ing against 21st century technology. An elegant galleon firing its cannon balls at an aircraft carrier.
Football supporters are used to watching the game on television, particularly games played interstate.
On television they get instant gratification with onground action, slow-motion replays, verbal and written explanations and endless statistical analysis.
In 2017 people know the capability of new technology and they like it. They have an expectation that if they go to the football or cricket, information about the game should be at least comparable with television.
To young people in particular, Adelaide Oval gives them a glimpse of Jurassic Park. This is how things used to be. Sure, the scoreboard is interesting but in today’s world of instant information it is a dinosaur.
You can’t fool young peo- ple. They know what technology is capable of providing and they like it. Bus stops are going hi-tech.
Show the score on a 106year-old scoreboard littered with useless tags like “fall of wicket”, “first innings, second innings” and other cricket minutiae which has nothing to do with the on-field action and they are, in a way, disenfranchised.
The dear old scoreboard not only denies the information they want and expect, but its very presence symbolises why they can’t have that information.
Why is the scoreboard there? To inform and entertain spectators or remind us how things used to be?
In a perfect world there is a place for the scoreboard. Perhaps it is right to leave it frowning across the Oval from its northern mound.
Or could it be moved, perhaps to a spot behind the west- ern stand, in the eastern gardens outside the ground, or to Adelaide No. 2 ground?
The scoreboard has wisely been preserved and safeguarded by legislation. It would be no easy matter to reverse that decision and allow it to be moved.
But it could be done if, after a calm and rational community debate, that was found to be the best decision for the continued growth of Adelaide Oval.
The removal of the old scoreboard would clear the way for a new stand, perhaps with seating for an extra 10,000 or 15,000 people. A stadium with a capacity of 65,000.
It would also allow for a larger and more comprehensive electronic scoreboard with the quality and detail provided by television, to be built.
Any move to remove the old scoreboard may not — at least initially — be popular. But let’s have the debate.
TALKING POINT: It is time to have a debate about the future of the Adelaide Oval scoreboard, writes Rex Jory.