I’ve always felt fortunate that I got interested in metal detecting when I did, and wonder whether I would have stuck with it had I discovered the pastime later. In the 70’s the competition was almost non-existent and the good finds were more plentiful.No one then had a computer, smart phone, GPS, or access to cable TV. It was a simpler time and life was good.
I was reminded of all this last night while watching my beloved New York Yankees lose a game to the Orioles. It started when Fox Sports decided to show me how many mph Mark Texeira was running, while going from first to third. Soon after that I was treated to another graphic of an “arrow” indicating how many feet a runner was off first base while getting his lead (apparently the naked eye wasn’t good enough). And the coup de grâce came later when I learned that center fielder Mason Williams ran 20.8 mph, traveled 114 feet, to catch a ball and crash into the wall. Oh, and his route efficiency was 96.8 pct. Seriously….. You can check it out here.
I mean Holy sh*t batman! How complicated can we make a baseball game? We already have the radar gun, and the strike/ball graphic (which almost always indicates the ump is blind or in a foul mood), and did someone really write to the network asking about all these statistics? I have to wonder too if it’s just something to burn air time, or to use when a contest is a runaway, which last night’s game wasn’t. And who the hell came up with these ideas? What TV tekkie decided to see how fast someone ran while going from first to third, and was he given a raise for it?
There are similar parallels as well in our pastime. We, along with the manufacturers, have decided to over complicate and micro-manage a very simple hobby. Think about it…. We no longer “listen” to our treasure….we need to look at it, via the spelled word and a numerical readout. Likewise, for whatever reason, we are no longer able to pinpoint our finds, and need to buy another instrument to do that. And if you really want to be a professional treasure hunter you need to spend $2,000 on a detector, be a computer wiz, own five or six searchcoils, a GPS, and be a budding Steven Spielberg. Sheesh!
As I look at all this I wonder…. has it really added more to YOUR coffers? Not the manufacturers….I know they are thriving. I am talking about you. Putting the “thrill of he hunt” bit aside, are YOU finding the treasures you want, or are you just playing the game? Might your time be better spent at the library than online comparing one video camera’s features to another? Would you be better off talking to that old-timer you see all the time at the Dairy Queen, instead of spending hours trying to figure out a “killer” computer program for your detector? Or how about actually going detecting and digging those audio “whispers” instead of posting “do you think coins sink deeper every year” on fifty detecting forums and Facebook pages.
Cartoon courtesy of Glenn McCoy
I am thinking it’s only a matter of time before everyone will be buying parts and building their own metal detectors. Anything to make things even more complicated and expensive. Yup, a Heathkit on steroids. Then everyone can really be a pro and say things like “Well that’s your problem man. You bought a stock model…you need to build one. Let me tell you how it’s done”. Far fetched? Don’t be so sure…
Finally I want you to know that 40 years ago I could turn on my detector, adjust all the knobs and switches (Google what they are), and cover a 50 x 50 foot area in 5 minutes and 23 seconds, moving at a speed of 14.3 mph. My route efficiency? 89.5%. Put that in your damn pipe and smoke it!