Thursday, November 25, 2010

Night Football

Enormous batteries of lights such as
this would be used to illuminate
sports fields in the latter half of the
20th century.  Middleborough's first
venture into night games occurred
in 1904 and would have seen a much
more modest array of electrical
"Stadium Lights", photo by
peppergrass, May 11, 2007, republished
under a Creative Commons license.

Football under the lights was inaugurated in Middleborough in 1904 largely as a practical measure . As reported by James H. Creedon at the time: "Football by electric light is the latest sport in town. The members of the high school team are unable to get a coach to train them in the daytime so they are now practicing nights, with Fred M. Ryder as coach." Unfortunately, little else is recorded of the venture or for how long it may have continued. And while practices were conducted in the evenings with the help of electric lights, games continued to be held strictly during the afternoons.  It is noteworthy that it was the Middleborough High School team which was responsible for the innovation.  At the time, the high school team was the leading proponent of football in Middleborough and it was largely responsible for popularizing the sport locally. The school itself, however, provided little direction or organization.  Teams were formed informally by the students who, as indicated by Creedon, were responsible for engaging their own coach, and establishing their own schedules in conjunction with other teams in the region.

Unidentified newspaper clipping, "Middleboro", November 1, 1904, Creedon Collection, Middleborough Public Library


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