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Night Lights 10/11/2009

Posted by sportretort in Sports, Uncategorized.
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On my way home from Iowa City last night, I was thinking about how special night football games are at the NCAA and NFL levels.   I had been in

Kinnick Stadium at night

Kinnick Stadium at night

 Iowa City to take in the Iowa-Michigan game with 70 plus thousand friends in Kinnick Stadium, home of the Iowa Hawkeyes.  Iowa beat Michigan 30-28 to move their record to 6-0.  Listening to WHO radio for post game coverage on the drive back to the Des Moines area, I heard the various talking heads describe the evening as electric.  And, I agree, it was.  I find that notion to be curious, however. 

Having had the good fortune to attend  a dozen or so  NFL Monday Night Football Games

The gold shakers found on each seat added to the atmosphere

The gold shakers found on each seat added to the atmosphere

(and a handful of Sunday Night games), I realize that we reserve the best games for under the lights.  Iowa, for example, has played 4 night games the past few years.  Syracuse, Ohio State, Penn State, at Penn State, and now Michigan.  Each important games in their season.  Big possibilities and dreams are on the line, usually for both teams.  There have been only 4 night games total at Kinnick so far.  The bright lights are usually accompanied by national television coverage.  The big game is hyped for weeks, and the anticipation builds all day as you pass normal game time and must wait for kick off.  It is the same for  both NFL and NCAA  games.  Fans are frenzied.  The teams must feel it.  The air in the stadium is well, electric.  I understand it.  It is different.  It is a departure from the normal routine.

But that is what odd to me.  Because it is also a return to our roots.  There is something familiar in the crisp air and the halo of light over the stadium.  The sounds of the marching band added to the familiarity.  Most of us grew up attending Friday night high school football games.  Almost every player in college and the NFL played in those games.   It is interesting, somehow, that the hype around a night game is some how a return to high school innocence.  The big game friday night.   It is a return to a ritual that was important, at one time or another, to most of us.  It is somehow appropriate that this celebration of big games in the sport also pays homage to its roots.

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