An Historic Night For Brown Football
Friday, September 24, 2010
Brown University has been playing intercollegiate football for 132 years and tomorrow at Brown Stadium the program will experience a first. The Bears will host their first-ever night game on the gridiron when Ivy League rival Harvard visits Brown for a 6pm kickoff.
Brown grad Jon Land is the VP of Marketing for the Brown Football Association. Seven months ago he sent an e-mail to BFA President Gerry Massa with a link to a portable lighting company called MUSCO. The e-mail simply read, “what do you think?”
Massa clicked the link and was immediately intrigued by the idea of having a night football game at Brown Stadium. Gerry had seen the Bears play road games under the lights in recent years at Harvard, Princeton and Stony Brook and saw what a great atmosphere it was. So his next thought was, why not here?
Massa forwarded the e-mail to Brown football coach Phil Estes saying that the BFA was considering raising funds to have temporary lights trucked into Brown Stadium for a 2011 home game and wanted to know if coach considered it a good idea. Phil replied with an e-mail of his own to Gerry saying, “forget about 2011. Why not for Harvard in 2010?” And so it began.
Massa and the BFA immediately put their ducks in a row and approached Brown athletic director Michael Goldberger. They assured Goldberger that they would raise the $48,000 needed to bring the lights in. Goldberger liked the idea and presented it to school President Ruth Simmons who gave it her blessing as well.
Last night MUSCO lit up two of the three banks of lighting that will be used at the stadium tomorrow night and it truly was a sight to behold. Cars and joggers alike were stopping in their tracks on Elmgrove Avenue to take a look at the spectacle. It really was a sight to see.
Brown senior linebacker and captain Andrew Serrano said, “we’ve been looking forward to playing this game under the lights since coach told us about it this summer.” “It kind of reminds you of Friday Night Lights when we played under the lights in high school. It’s such an awesome atmosphere,” he said.
Estes agrees. “There’s something special about playing night football. Our last two games up at Harvard were great. We brought a lot of fans up to Cambridge and now we get to host a game like this,” he said.
No one knows for sure how many people will be at Brown Stadium tomorrow night but it’s safe to say that it will be their best crowd for a home football game in decades. Brown alumni are coming from all corners of the globe to be a part of this great event and the student turnout is expected to be in the thousands.
ESPN’s Chris Berman graduated from Brown in 1977 and hasn’t seen a home game since he was a student in the press box broadcasting the games on WBRU. He’ll be returning to his alma mater to soak up the atmosphere.
The hope is that this will be such an overwhelming success that it can become an annual event. The thought being that Brown could host intra-state rival URI on the years when they play Harvard on the road.
Whatever the future holds will be of little consequence come tomorrow night. Those who attend will be treated to a great football game between two great programs and universities in a great atmosphere. All because of a few innocent e-mails exchanged months back.
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