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Life Before Shot Clocks and Scoreboards – A Simpler yet Less Convenient Time

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I don’t know if you saw the final game in the Eastern Conference Finals, but if you did, wasn’t that the most annoying thing in the entire world? How is it possible that an entire technical support team could not get the scoreboard and shot clock working? The game was delayed for about an hour. And then, when they finally got the game started again, the announcers had to tell the players when time was almost up. In my opinion, this was the single greatest debacle in the modern era of NBA basketball. All of the air and excitement were taken out the game. Incidents of this nature kind of make you take your focus off of the superstar sports figures and be more appreciative of the so-called “nerds” who spend countless hours devising life-changing inventions. As a society, we should really give credit to these little geniuses. Our lives would be so different than what they are today. Think of what your everyday life would be comprised of without the following inventions.

1. The Portable Shot Clock and Scoreboard.

Now, you may not be a sports fan, but still, without shot clocks and scoreboards, basketball is not only hard to play for the participants, but is also hard for the viewers to follow.

2. Instant Replay.

Over the past few years, we have come to the understanding that the officials are not always right. In fact, sometimes they make flat out stupid mistakes. In the past, games have hinged on whether or not the officials have gotten the call right. And, when they get them wrong, it is an outrage. But now that officials have the luxury of turning to replays, they make the right calls. Some say replays taint the spirit of the game. However, I say fair is fair, and the replays don’t lie.

3. Cell Phones

To illustrate how accustomed we have come to having wireless phoning capabilities at the touch of our fingers, I will tell a story about my grandma. While visiting her, we had a discussion about the latest technological wave. She doesn’t see the need for cell phones and Ipods and things of that nature. But when I asked her, how her friends knew where she was or how to get in touch with her, she said “What do you mean, how did they know where I was? I was at home.” Wow, without cell phones, we would have to sit at home, waiting for people to call us. Now, we can go wherever we want and still get in touch with whomever we need to.

4. The Internet

Remember when the internet didn’t exist? No? Yeah, me neither. Currently, I work for Robbins Sports and Athletics, which is an online provider of sports apparel and equipment. Without the internet, I would be out of a job. But, it goes further than that. Ask yourself when the last time was you went a whole day without using the internet. From checking you email to running a business online, the internet is used so much, so often. I remember a time when to do light research on a certain topic, I had to go to the library. What a waste of time. Now, just hop online and surf the web to find everything about any topic that suits your interest.


5. The Automobile

This past spring, I went down to Arizona to watch the San Francisco Giants during spring training. Currently I reside in Utah, so the trip took us 10 hours to get there and 10 hours to get back. It seemed as if we were driving forever. Then, I realized how long it would have taken us before the advent of the automobile. Imagine riding a horse across an entire state. It would take over a week. The automobile was such an amazing invention

6. The Telephone

Now, you may be thinking that the telephone and the cell phone are pretty much one and the same, but they are not. Before the cell phone you could still call people in hopes that they would be there. But, before the telephone, you had to write letters. Correspondence used to take forever. First you would write to someone. Then, a horseman or ship would deliver the letter. After which, the recipient would write back and the letter would again be delivered by horse or ship. Imagine how long that would take. The telephone definitely revolutionized our way of living.

7. The Oven

Fire was a monumental discovery by early man. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that we want to use it to cook our meals day in and day out. Roasting dinner on an open flame was good enough for cavemen, but we are a little more advanced than that. We need to appreciate that we no longer have to use a spit to prepare meals.

8. The Printing Press

Johann Gutenberg was definitely ahead of his time. Apart from instigating the Reformation, allowing people to read religious works for themselves, he totally revamped the way people think. Before the printing press, the layman was forced to rely on priests and monks to do their thinking for them. Nowadays, we have unlimited resources at the click of a mouse. Just think, would you want to expand your knowledge level if you had to go talk to some old guy in a dress every time you were looking for some information? I doubt. That is why the printing press was so great. It gives you the freedom to think for yourself.

9. Electricity.

Almost everything we do in this day and age uses electricity. Whether you are reading a book by a lamp or working on an international business deal, electricity is used in every situation. God bless Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Edison for allowing us to stay up past sunset and still have light see.

10. Indoor Plumbing/ The Toilet

This one is pretty much self-explanatory. Who would want to use out-houses for the rest of their life? Or, I guess if you are not into using out-houses, you could just go into the wild and do your business. Hygiene has definitely progressed over the years, and indoor plumbing has to be regarded as one of the best concepts ever.

To sum up, our lives would be very different from what they are today if there weren’t people in this world willing to take the time to think about how to improve upon what we already have. Lebron James and their shot clock/scoreboard travsty reminded me of the appreciation and gratitude we should show to the innovators of the world.

Nishan Wilde is VP of Sales for RobbinsSports.com, an online resource for Portable Scoreboards and Team Sports Equipment