At least for now, forget about luxury boxes, renovations, changes in student seating or any of the myriad issues that will prompt heated discussions about the future of Cameron Indoor Stadium. The most hallowed college basketball arena in the country (if Bilas says so, it must be true!) needed a new scoreboard to replace the outdated eyesore that hung from the rafters, and installing a new, high-tech apparatus (or, as Duke Athletics wrote in its release, a “centerhung scoring and video display”) filled a void. Introducing 21st-century progress to the arena does nothing to demean its unique quaintness, and is certainly not an NBA-zation of the decidedly college stadium. Upgrading the scoreboard was a surefire way to modernize Cameron without installing air conditioning or making room for Dick Vitale behind the scorer’s table.
In theory, of course. But the practical application of a new scoreboard raises a new set of objections, far from basketball purism or upholding tradition. What if the four new LED screens and instant replay don’t enhance the game because they’re too painful to watch?
That is: What if the new scoreboard is ugly?
That’s the first thing that struck me when I noticed the graphic accompanying the athletic department’s statement from Friday
Visual representations are far from perfect (and, to GoDuke’s credit, there are nine photos of workers preparing to raise the scoreboard), but the provided image is not aesthetic in the least bit. Then again, it does look like it was drawn hastily in Paint. Still, the mere notion of the scoreboard being a downgrade from the old one never occurred to me as I tried to figure out whether Gerald Henderson had zero points or eight by discerning the bulky light dots, or when my friends and I debated whether Marty Pocius really did foul (even now, the odds of the powers-that-be showing events whose replay disadvantages Duke seems slim).
I’ll be happy to eat my words, because that would imply that the scoreboard is a success, making the process of reporting a game easier for a journalist and simplifying the action for the Cameron Crazies. But if not… well, then, let’s hold off on those Cameron restorations and fix what’s broken.
Anyone been around Cameron in the last few days and have photos?
–by Ben Cohen