High school holds first night football game

September 19, 2009 9:07:04 AM PDT
The Oak Park River Forest High School team finally got to play at home under the lights. The school spent years fighting for the right to install lights to make that happen.

For many schools it's a tradition a few decades old. Not here in Oak Park where concerns about crowds and night time noise blocked the installation of lights for years.

"We waited eight years, argued eight years to get this night and it's the best night ever," said Kimberly Bates, Oak Park River Forest H.S. parent.

Stadium neighbors like Charles Smith opposed the installation of lights. But he and others who have kids at Oak Park River Forest are torn between their Huskie pride and the potential impact on their property values.

"No, I'm not going to love this at 10:30 at night. I'm not going to love it at 10 o'clock at night," said Charles Smith Oak Park resident.

"The commissions all voted it down, the historic commission, all the others. That wasn't respected and it's a bit troubling," said Daniel Ryan, Oak Park resident.

Forty five hundred people packed the stands on Friday night, far more than attended Saturday afternoon games.

"I think school spirit will be enhanced by these Friday nights," said Attila Weninger, Oak Park River Forest H.S. superintendent.

"There was one another problem with this first night game. It was accidentally scheduled on Rosh Hashanna, the Jewish new year. The school and conference both say there was simply no way to reschedule."

There's now only one school left in the west suburban conference without lights for Friday night football. And that's Glenbard West, Oak Park River Forest's opponent on Friday night.


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