Tales of a Scoreboard Keeper
If you were one of the more than 1000 people at the Macs playoff game on Tuesday night, February 20th, you probably experienced one of the most exciting games to happen at YU. The comeback, the 3 pointers, the coach-ref showdown! You may have also noticed, unless your hearing is immune to blaring horns, a scoreboard faulty enough it could cause an earthquake. Hi, I’m the person who was controlling that scoreboard for the night, nice to meet you. This was my 12th game working the scoreboard and I consider myself a seasoned vet at this point. My friend Betsy (the name I call the scoreboard) and I have had a bittersweet relationship together for the past four months. Some days, we have a blissful romantic adventure through an exciting game. Other days, she throws temper tantrums and decides to blow her horn for 3, sometimes 6 seconds too long. To calm her down, I’ve tried many methods. I’ve tried smacking her (keep in mind, “her” is still an object, I am normally a very tame, non-aggressive human being). Sometimes that works. Sometimes I press the horn button again and that does the trick. As the season went on, while I complained to the staff that we needed a new scoreboard, we stuck it out and ultimately, Betsy and I were staying tight.
Come the playoff game; a new, stranger scoreboard is brought out. Let’s call him Norman. I could tell he wasn’t Betsy. And let me tell you, as the tip-off began, I began to miss Betsy. A lot. The time on both clocks kept stalling and delaying. As I pressed “+1”, or “+3” (yeah, the Macs are pretty great at those), the displayed scoreboard decided to let the public know a solid 30 seconds after the shot was made. I heard distinct cries “the score is 37, not 35!”, “fix the score!”. I attempted to move around the little antenna on the board so the displayed boards would update. That seldom worked.
Now Norman was special. He didn’t throw short insignificant temper tantrums. No, he wanted to be heard loud and proud after being in storage for so many months. He decided to blast his horn for a whopping 8 seconds. EVERY time. The last straw I had with Norman, was his grand finale, the tekiah gedola. He blasted for maybe 20 seconds. At this point, I tried all my usual tactics I used with Betsy. I smacked him (“him” is an object, remember), I pressed the horn again, But alas, Norman could not be tamed. I looked up slowly, hoping to find everyone merrily minding their own business, to a crowd full of faces staring at me. I felt my face turn bright red. I wanted to do something to appease the crowd, laugh it off, but sheer horror overcame me. No, it’s not my fault, but Norman sure knew how to make people think it was.
At halftime, my friend told me “Yeah, some people were yelling about the scoreboard, but don’t worry I yelled back at them, ‘It’s not her fault!’”. Bless people like this friend. Thank G-d, I had a wonderful support system next to me at the table in my fellow shot clock guy, scorebook keeper, and stats master, who kept reminding me, “it’s not your fault”. Bless them as well.
Second half came and we decided to switch the consoles, BARUCH Hashem. I reunited with Betsy and the rest of the game went smoothly. Perhaps she learned her lesson from a short time out; that temper tantrums don’t get you anywhere except the storage box. The Macs came from a 17-point lag at the beginning, to a 13-point lead at the end and clinched their spot in the next round of the playoffs. The redness of my face from embarrassment turned into a happy, excited red, hearing the crowd sing “Mi Shenichnas Adar BeSimcha” when the game was in our pocket.
While our last home game of the season sure had its downs in the first half, we came back, as Maccabees do. Although, I must admit I remember a time when a player named Titus (yes, that was his name on the roster) on the opposing volleyball team made several kills against the YU Maccabees volleyball team. Sadly, the Maccabees did not recover from Titus’s defeat that day. But besides for that instance, the Maccabees persevere and with the help of the “sixth man”, aka all the fans in the crowd, the basketball team continued their journey to ultimately gain the title of Skyline Conference champions.
Two lessons we can learn from this playoff game. One, “Dan Lechaf Zchut”, it really wasn’t me, it was the scoreboard, I’m actually pretty decent at the gig, ask Stan, my scoreboard keeping coach extraordinaire and longtime Max Stern Athletic Center manager. Second, with the help of G-d, and our unity as a Jewish people, as Yeshiva University, as the Maccabees, we can accomplish anything. It’s been a pleasure keeping score for you, Macs. Betsy, we’ll talk later.