Friday night lights–not

Mikayla Minton, Guest Writer

Picture this: setting sun, kickoff, brisk air, bright lights, champions. You’re in the stands of Maxwell Field on a cool, fall Saturday night. With the sound of the marching band playing and the stadium lights shining brightly down upon the Cat Dome, you watch as the Linfield University football team wins yet another game. 

Watching any sporting event under stadium lights is a nostalgic American experience. And few sports evoke as much fervor, pride, and rivalry as college football. 

Not only are night games nostalgic and aesthetic to tradition, but they just make sense. Linfield football games as well as all Northwest Conference games should be moved from afternoon to evenings. 

Even many Linfield football players said they would enjoy games more if they were held at night instead of in daylight.

“I truly believe playing under the lights – whether it’s on a Friday or Saturday – is unmatched,” said sophomore Dez Forrest, who plays running back.

Frank Cooper agrees with his teammate. “Nighttime provides a great atmosphere for a game…I think games in the evening would be a phenomenal idea,” said Cooper, a junior who plays cornerback.

“I definitely miss playing games under the lights,” said junior linebacker Blake Rybar. “It would be awesome getting to have at least one game a year that is in the evening.” 

Many students prefer not to spend the majority of their Saturday afternoon at a football game. Between work and homework, it can be difficult to dedicate your Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., preparing for, driving to, attending, and recovering from a game. 

It’s important to have large, loud crowds at games. Parents and community members are also less likely to have work or prior commitments in the evening, which could result in higher attendance.

“Having as many fans as possible at the game is so beneficial to our team. The home crowd provides great energy and can play a huge factor in close games. The more people we can get at the games, the better,” Cooper said.

Many players would support playing evening games, according to Forrest. “Some of us feel like 5 or 6 o’clock games would be perfect because we are a second-half team. Coming out for the second half under the lights would be a huge spark for our team – to start off on fire like we know we can.” 

Forrest said the transition from high school to college football was tough and that moving games closer to the end of the day would make it a little smoother. “It’d feel like a Friday Night Lights game all over again,” he added.

Nathan Herde

Football games are arguably one of the most exciting events to attend in the fall, especially at Linfield, where we take pride in our long 66-year winning streak. Why not make the time of the game more accessible for everyone? 

Having football games either on Friday or Saturday evenings would increase support for other sports as well. The soccer, golf, volleyball, and cross-country seasons are concurrent with football. Many people do not attend those matches because students are spending their whole Saturday at football festivities. 

Our cheer and dance teams would also gain more support if more people attended evening football games.

Some players are indifferent to when games are played. Junior Kannon Dote, a quarterback, said he had “no real bias towards one or the other. Whatever brings us more fans and is the most accessible for fans and our alumni.” 

Cooper thought Saturday night would be a great time to have games. “It gives time for people to do stuff during the day and would allow other student-athletes to come and support our team,” he said.

Forrest prefers Saturday games not only for himself and his teammate’s sake but for their families as well. “A lot of us have younger siblings playing high school football,” he said. “It is already tough for some parents who work to have to take off two days a week to make both games. It would suck if they had to choose between games to watch because they’re on the same day.”

Since many other college football teams play evening games, I was curious why Linfield games are played midday. Athletic Director Gary Kilgore explained that game times are determined by the Northwest Conference. This means change for this would need to happen at a conference-wide level. Is Linfield, and are other NWC schools, ready to make this change?