A scoreboard can ignite a team, pump up a crowd and inform coaches of fouls and timeouts.
Five years of donations have helped Seneca High School provide boards for all of its varsity sports. Announced during the May 13 Lenape Regional High School District board of education meeting, $24,751 of donations were accepted.
Outgoing Director of Athletics and Student Activities Jeff Spector said the scoreboards help promote equity in sports — a term the district promotes for its students.
The current board in the football stadium had technical difficulties and needed repairs. Students offered fundraising for a new one, to which Spector agreed to, but other student athletes who played playoff games or otherwise marquee events at the stadium sought scoreboards of their own.
“Starting with the Class of 2016, they donated around $6,000 toward the scoreboards,” Spector noted. “We had some parent donations, anonymous ones, field hockey, boys and girls lacrosse raised money … soccer and got the ball rolling.
“We wanted to do it all together and didn’t want to pick which is more important, so we got to a plan where we had the funds and were ready to get started.”
A purchasing order has been made for girls soccer and field hockey teams, and Seneca’s stadium. Panels were purchased for teams who share a field with one another, with the exception of boys soccer, which shares a field with girls lacrosse. Spector said the team could raise funds to get a boys soccer panel on the shared scoreboard.
Girls soccer and boys lacrosse share a field where a board is being installed. Many sports play larger events in the stadium, so the board was designed to say Seneca High School.
The stadium, girls soccer and field hockey boards will be operational by the fall sports season. A girls lacrosse scoreboard is slated for the spring season or end of the 2020-2021 school year. Varsity baseball and softball teams already had scoreboards installed in the past.
Spector, who is preparing for his formal promotion to principal in August, mentioned that coaches would lug around a small scoreboard to the fields seen only by coaching staff, but not spectators.
“For them (coaches) to not have to worry about carrying the scoreboard around and setting it up, it’s a small thing and is not close to what we have starting,” he said. “It creates a stadium-like atmosphere at the fields.”
Visiting opponents and their fans will not have a difficult time finding the fields; the boards are positioned to be seen from the parking lots, amplifying the game environment.
Many high schools rally around their football and basketball teams because they tend to draw bigger crowds, but Spector emphasized all sports big and small deserve an equal amount of funding and support..
“No matter what the sport is, they are all equal to me and I want the kids to all have the same opportunity to play on a field, have a useful scoreboard;
that’s important,” Spector declared.
“We have a gymnastics team that has four or five girls on it and they’re just as important as our football team that has 60 or 70 people.”
Some varsity sports will be without scoreboards, namely those that do not play at Seneca such as golf, swimming and bowling. Tennis does not have a need for a board given the size of the courts.
Spector said the courts and fields are all maintained so teams are competing on a fresh, safe surface and are afforded appropriate funds to continue play.
A formal recognition ceremony of the boards and their donors is anticipated to occur during a marquee football game at the end of a quarter or during halftime.
“(Students) don’t know what it looks like yet, but some of them do know it’s coming,” Spector noted. “Over the chatter I’ve heard, the kids are excited and ready to compete on a field with a scoreboard.
“It just adds a bit more excitement for it. They’re really excited about it.”