Lights or No Lights?

By Chloe Sampere

The installment of lights on the turf field has been a topic of enormous debate at Byram Hills High School. Many people believe that the installment of lights surrounding the turf would promote school spirit at sports games occurring in the evening. However, the school has not taken action in getting lights for various reasons such as the expensive cost and the laborious work it would take to maintain them.

I first spoke with the principal of Byram Hills High School, Mr. Walsh, who acknowledged that he would love to keep talking about the installment of lights, but “he doesn’t know now if [he] is in a position to support lights on the field.” He understands why both fans and players want lights on the turf, the reason being that “night time games with huge crowds and people cheering them on in whatever sport” can make for a memorable high school experience. The negatives of installing lighting, however, outweigh the positives in his opinion because he would have to think about “the cost to maintain the lights, the outside organizations that would want to use the lights, [and] hiring a person that would manage turning the lights on and off.” He also mentions that neighbors play an important factor in this decision, considering that many live on the same street of the high school and behind the school, and lights could be disruptive to them. Principal Walsh adds that we would have “different supervising needs” and “more parking” if we were going to install these lights.

Next, I spoke to Mrs. Marinaro who is a special education teacher during the school day and the varsity girls soccer coach at BHHS after school. She believes that lights on the turf are a great idea because of “the experience of having a night game, [which she] thinks is one that really sticks in the memories of the players even after they graduate high school.” As a sports coach, she also feels that “it opens up an avenue for flexibility with scheduling because sometimes it’s hard to share the turf with so many different teams.”

Finally, I spoke with Sebastien Sampere, a Junior at BHHS who is a member of the varsity soccer team. He agrees with Mrs. Marinaro that putting lights on the turf would be a great idea and thinks that “night games create an atmosphere that brings the whole school and community closer together.” He says that his games are usually earlier in the afternoon when most fans aren’t available to come show their support, but “if it were to be a night game, like at 7:30 or 8:00, fans would be able to come, and we would get more support.” Although he understands how “residents that live close by could find it annoying, [he] thinks the benefits outway the disadvantages.”

Finally, there are most definitely benefits and disadvantages of having lights installed on the turf. Whether you are a student-athlete, coach, or the principal of the school, many individuals have identified their thoughts regarding the installment of lights. The positives include later games which encourage more fans to come support the team, and of course, making it easier to schedule these games. Additionally, the school spirit can be increased tremendously because of lights on the turf. However, the negatives are cost, supervision, and disturbances to residents who live close by. The issue of lights on the turf can go either way depending on what you believe is most important! Therefore, it is important to voice your own opinion and to encourage others to speak for theirs as well!