June 20, 2010
Keeping Score with David Boyd
VALDOSTA -- As basketball players move down the court,
anticipating each other’s passes, and football players charge down
the sidelines in rehearsed formations -- Dr. David Boyd, professor
emeritus of Mathematics and Computer Science, collaborates with his
team on the sidelines or in the press box.
Boyd has been working the scoreboard at VSU football games for the past 24 years and the scoreboard at basketball games since 1988. He portrays coordination with other members of the game operation team much like a coach would describe the cooperation within the lineup.
“Since none of us sees everything, we depend on each other a lot to make sure that the game operations run smoothly,” Boyd said. “Over the past several years we have learned to be the eyes and ears for each other and to anticipate when we need each other’s help. It is a challenge to stay alert all the time, especially during tournaments when we may work four games in an afternoon and evening.”
The job even spills into the action when loose basketballs or the players themselves fly into the table, knocking consoles and unplugging devices; or coaches and fans mouth off to the table when mistakes are made. But much like players on the field or court, the operators don’t let sideline shenanigans distract them from the game.
“There are times when we make mistakes. It does not take long for fans and coaches to point out errors in the score on the scoreboard. I have inadvertently blown the horn when play is in progress, but this is not embarrassing anymore,” Boyd said. “The most memorable incident was when there were two seconds left in a close game against West Georgia. Coach ‘Big Ed’ Murphy thought I started the clock prematurely when his players inbounded the ball, and the clock ran out before they could get a shot off. That was one time when I took his response as a personal attack on my integrity, and stood up at the table and challenged him. VSU Coach James Dominey never let me live that one down.”
The father of four rarely misses a game. His youngest child, Deborah, who was born during the 1989-1990 basketball season, started coming to Blazer games when she was a few days old. Daughter, Judy, fills in for dad when he is unable to work the boards.
“I grew up in a household of sports fans. My Dad, older brother and I were baseball fans. The problem was that they were NY Yankee fans, and I was a Brooklyn Dodger fan. We also liked college football -- but they were LSU fans while I like Ole Miss. They seemed to be on the winning side a whole lot more than I,” said Boyd, who played football in ninth and tenth grade. “Baseball is still my favorite, but I like all VSU sports. In my classes, I have tried to remind the students of the upcoming sporting events and encourage them to come out and watch the Blazers play.”
Boyd said the best part about his job is the people. He loves the intensity of the crowd and the conversation with his fellow operators. Football announcer Matt Malone and play-clock operator David Schmidt have shared many a laugh; Boyd said the trio is lucky there isn’t a microphone in the press box. Basketball shot-clock operator, David Schmidt, and official scorer, Kelly Wells, have worked hard with Boyd to run a tight ship. Boyd is quick to point out that several referees have told the team that they run “the smoothest table in the Gulf South Conference.”
Boyd, who served two terms as Executive Secretary of the Faculty Senate, is retired from the classroom, but remains active in the community. He is involved with the VSU Retiree Association and serves as president of the Little River Sportsman’s Association, which maintains a gun range in Brooks County and sponsors several shooting competitions each month. Boyd also edits Driver’s Seat, the newsletter of the South Georgia Classic Car Club, a Valdosta area club for those interested in classic automobiles. In June, he traveled to Italy with Sine Nomine Singers of Valdosta, a semi-professional choral ensemble of 21 area singers. He and his wife, Becky, are active members of Faith Baptist Church of Valdosta.