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The Gun Show || The Twelfth Man to Monmouth: Light Up Kessler Field

The time and place are set, the plans are made, just need the finishing touches and soon your group of friends will be going out to watch a sporting event. The setting is a Saturday evening on a warm day in fall and the occasion calls for an intriguing football matchup.

The only problem…this whole situation is completely unattainable. The reason for this disheartening statement: no lights on Kessler Field. No sporting events or social gatherings will be occurring there past sun down as the field can accommodate only day games.

In the bold move over the summer, lights were installed on the Great Lawn for our prestigious soccer program, a strategy that is sure to bring fans out at night to enjoy a ranked soccer team take on an NEC opponent. Or they will be able to witness the girls soccer team do the same, an increasingly popular site as the team is rising in NEC ranks.

But as the move is sure to draw crowds, still not too far away at Kessler Field, the facility does not employ night games. A football game, drawing much larger crowds than soccer, justifiably needs these lights for a change of pace and a new touch to the Monmouth athletic outlook.

As the stands are filled during our day games, with fans of all ages, even more would be able to be drawn to a night game. Following any daytime activities and or obligations the Monmouth fan would be able to enjoy the night game and unwind as the Pep Band cheers on Hawk fans and the players vie another win.

It’s clear-cut common sense at this point that the installation should occur. Becoming moments to mark off on the calendar, the night game could become another illustrious addition to the Monmouth resumé.

Opponents would fear traveling to the MAC to take on a Hawk squad backed by a mob of Monmouth fans, as they sometimes do already, but even more in that “high-stakes, high pressure” night game where thoughts for players, coaches and personnel all day ride on the result of the impending game. The night game element would be one to praise for the Monmouth fan and an outing to remember for any outsider or even prospective students.

Although only opinionated, I see the attendance of games increasing and the atmosphere improving around our games with the implement of the lights. Groups of students not willing to go during the day, working on homework or busy with work or outside activities, would now be willing to come out to the games, probably in mass with their friends to support their school. The games would be surrounded by going out, enjoying the element of the newly created night scene and would prompt others, like parents and other relatives, etc. to bring even more viewers to the game. It’s really a win-win for the athletic program and the school itself. It would bolster our image and further the voice of the Monmouth fan, because common sense tells me groups and groups of kids would show up, decked out and body painted for games that are hyped up and scheduled at night.

It too, would change the whole scheduling process, mostly in favor of Monmouth, which would now have the power of using a night game atmosphere against rivals or in big games. This, like in prominent NCAA games and NFL games, is the tool of the Twelfth Man. Seen most notably at Texas A&M in NCAA Division I football and in Seattle for the Seattle Seahawks, this is the noticeably loud fan base that changes the outcomes of games.

Sure, Kessler Field is no illustrious stadium and our program is not highly deciphered on ESPN and analyzed by Jesse Palmer and the cast of College Football Live, but any momentum booster and change for the better in attendance, which would result from these lights, is sure to help the program.

Now as prominent Monmouth players like Kyle Frazier and Jose Gumbs make excellent plays on the field, the fans look on in the blazing heat or in a bleacher filled a third of the amount of fans it should hold. With the creation of the night scene at the field, these plays will turn into memorable moments as packs of Monmouth fans leave the field talking about the game’s hype and what it lived up to.

With a bigger attendance and a whole new scene, and possibly that twelfth man tool, a total revolution of Monmouth football can occur, is this something we’d support? I’d surely say the pros outweigh the cons here.

***Introducing The Outlook’s new Interactive Sports Opinion Section! You can have the opportunity to field your questions to Dan Gunderman, staff writter of The Outlook and columnist for “The Gun Show.” All responses will be read and carefully analyzed, and the best one will be chosen from and responded to. See your question/concern carefully considered and responded to in print in the next week’s issue! Just email all questions/statements about the week’s article or what you’d like to see out of it to: s0784904@