From the pages of
Pinedale Roundup
Volume 104, Number 48 - November 29, 2007
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Ready for some night football?

by Jennie Oemig

If approved by the Sublette County School District (SCSD) #1, the members of the Pinedale High School football team might get the chance to experience the thrill of Friday night lights.

SCSD #1 Activities Director Jeff Makelky said the idea of bringing in portable lights for one game on next season’s schedule had been suggested by some parents and was brought to the attention of the Long-Range Facilities Planning Committee (LRFPC) at its meeting on Nov. 19.

“It’s still really early in the possibility stage,” Makelky said, adding that he would like to see it happen. “ … It would be a neat thing [for the kids].”

Because football lights must be up to certain specifications so that players are not blinded when they look up to retrieve a punt or catch a pass, Makelky said he doesn’t even know if portable lights would work. “It may not even be possible,” he said. And the district has yet to look into how much the lights would cost.

“It’s something that’s brand new to us,” SCSD #1 Business and Finance Director Vern McAdams said, adding that he is unsure of the expense the district would incur to try it out.

Makelky said the possibility of getting thegas and oil companies to donate lights would be looked into if need be.

In attempting to make this suggestion a possibility, Makelky said the district will have to consider its options. “I think it’s interesting to look at and weigh the pros and cons,” he said.

Among the positive aspects of having games later in the evening is that it gives parents a chance to see their children play football, Makelky said.

At present, with no lights at the stadium,the football team typically competes during the afternoon to ensure there is enough daylight to get the game in. In turn, it was noted at the LRFPC meeting that it is difficult for some parents to attend those games due to their work schedules.

“It’s tough for some people to take off in the middle of the day [when the games start],” Makelky said.

Because several staff members are also involved with the sport, whether it be running the clock, taking stats or whatever else, he added.

“It would be a lot better to have that flexibility,” he said of giving those people more time to get prepared for the game.

In addition to playing in chilly temperatures, Makelky said travel distance is an aspect that would need to be taken into consideration to ensure that opposing teams are not on the road at 1 or 2 a.m. Because many of the Wranglers’ opponents are spread out across the state, SCSD #1 Vice Chair Ward Wise said that, if approved, the lights would be used for a game against a team that does not have to travel too far, such as Big Piney, Kemmerer or Lyman.

“A lot of parents would be willing to travel,” SCSD #1 Board of Trustees Treasurer Jim Malkowski said during the LRFPC meeting.

An added bonus for evening games would be keeping the players from missing pertinent lecture and student-teacher face-to-face time. Since football players tend to leave their classrooms early to slip on their pads and warm up for the games, Makelky said having games in the evening would alleviate that disruption.

“Keeping kids in class … that’s a big positive for me,” Makelky said.

That aspect is also a plus for Wise. “It keeps kids in the classroom,” Wise pointed out, suggesting that the district try it out for at least one game and see how it goes. “ … And it’s fun to play under the lights, too.

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