Friday Night Lights?


A sparse visiting crowd attends a home football game vs. Hazelwood East. Many people feel that having games at night would improve the atmosphere and school spirit at home games.

Elise Green, Writer

Playing football and other outdoor stadium sports at high school happens often during night time. So, for this purpose, Hazelwood Central High School needs an efficient and bright lighting system that will make the stadium glow at night.

Even though Hazelwood Central High has gone through many changes over the years, why is the football field so outdated compared to everything else? Historically the school has celebrated its football program. This includes 4 state championships, the most recent of which was in 2013, and an impressive post-Covid 2021 season that took them to the Class 6 District Semi-finals. While the team has much to be proud of, the state of their playing field gets a flag on the play.

Among the neighboring public high schools, Hazelwood Central is among the few that lack field lighting. 

“I think any time you can update your facilities, especially at a school, it always can help things improve, right? And I mean, you have to look at the whole picture, not just lights on the football field, but needs versus wants, and I think it’s a very tough task to navigate through,” said Josh Martin, Hazelwood Central’s Activities Director.

The district’s Board of Education explored ideas for enhancing athletic activities on the middle and high school level in a report presented to them in May of 2021. Among the recommendations were facilities upgrades, including fields, lights, scoreboards, locker rooms, outside streaming technology, outdoor sound systems, press boxes, sport-specific equipment, and storage. After that board meeting, the subject wasn’t brought up again, thus the current status of the proposal is unknown.

This takes iconic “Friday Night Lights” games and other potential evening activities off the table for this school, for now.

“I feel like for themes, in regards to our school, we can’t even host anything because of Covid and because of there being no lights. I just don’t find that entertaining. What’s the point in going to events if they’re not entertaining?” said Niyah Brown, an 11th-grade Junior Volleyball player. Lighting the field might improve opportunities to engage students and generate school spirit.

There are a lot of benefits to having lights. One of them is the amount of safety they bring. A properly illuminated field would help the athletes see the ball better especially on overcast days, or late after school. This may help reduce injuries, and it may even help reduce suspicious activities from occurring near the venue. Lighting could help improve attendance at events and enhance the fan experience.

For example, nighttime games build excitement and may allow for a wide variety of events like track meets or marching band competitions.

“It’s ok, but it’s not as fun and exciting as night games. I feel that if we could have night games, more people would come to them, and in return hype the players up,” said Jeramiah Scott, a 12th-grade varsity football player said.