I read tafnut's posting about field events' lack of respect, and it reminded me of a beef I've had for a while:
Why is the reporting / displaying of field event information so poor at track meets?
Typically, spectators have to crane their necks to view a posting board positioned right at the location of the event, and the information displayed reflects only the most recent mark.
This makes it profoundly difficult for the average fan to really follow the competition, unless they're scribbling results all the time (which many of us do, I know).
Why in this day and age can't someone design a board or display to list all competitors and their marks/attempts?
Nearly all popular invitational meets and championships have huge electronic displays that show everything from startlists to instant replays to close-ups of feet on plasticene; you would think the least they could do would be to display field event placings after each round.
With T&F being a three-ring-circus, it's hard enough to actually witness every throw, jump or vault, but the lack of information during an event can often suck the drama right out of it.
I think this contributes to field events' general lack of popularity. Running events don't suffer this fate because fans can always visually identify who won or lost, and by how much. Think about it: if it wasn't for announcers, we'd have no clue as to the leading mark in a field event, or the eventual winner.
I'm with ya, bro, but as an occasional meet director, I am faced with the logistical/expense issue. Separate event boards end up being a huge expense with very infrequent use. Perhaps if a consortium of college or open meet directors bought/made them, they could be passed around. But then the logistics comes into it again. I remember just such a thread before on the t-f list, and I think it was garry's comment that noted that meet directors just couldn't be bothered with the time, expense and logistics involved.
For meet directors on a tight budget, I would suggest a compromise on the throws and jumps, but one which I suspect is illegal: Put down a brightly colored marker showing where the leading mark is. Since I never see such a thing, I'm guessing there is a rule against it, so as not to give the last competitor an unfair advantage, but I say to heck with that: It would make things more interesting for the fan, therefore it ought to be done. Heck, if we can have pacers in distance races, why not for field events? And unlike distance pacers, it would make things MORE exciting, not less.
The solution is to have greater use of the FieldLynx system at meets instead of the tired old pen & paper thing that many officials insist on using. The downloads and display of this info is almost instantaneous. There is no excuse for it not being used at any meet that is already FAT and has a scoreboard that can display the results through a live link.
As an announcer, I am constantly trying to get field event information to the crowd. The problems are two-fold:
1) the effort - it takes so many more people, possibly two per event, to keep track of field events because if you miss one mark, you need ot contact the field people to get updated
2) who is leading? - if you don't have constant communincation to the event, you can miss one mark and now be telling the crowd incorrect information. In running events, it is easy to see who is in the lead. Unless you have EVERY field event mark, you can never be sure. For that reason, I often have to ignore field events until I get a field update.
So, we need more people to volunteer to work with announcers!