Saturday, September 9, 2017

Seeing the Light in Pottstown's Grigg Stadium

Photos by Evan Brandt
As the sun set over Pottstown Middle School Friday night, the full glory of the new lights at Grigg Memorial field was evident to the capacity crowd which filled the home side stands.

I'll be the first to admit it.

I am not a football guy.
It was nice to see the home stands full again.

Didn't play it, don't watch it, don't care much who wins.

But for me, the return of Friday night football under the lights in Pottstown turned out to have very little to do with football.

Rather, it's about all the other things it enables and evokes.

First and foremost, it puts everybody in the same place. It's the place to be and as such it literally and physically brings the community together in one of the few places big enough to hold us all.

And it unites us in a common cause, even if it is to root for our young people to play a game that may lead to a lifetime of concussion damage. We all make choices.

And it's not just the current athletes.

Jennifer Jones and her son-in-law Lonnell Allen
I met Jennifer Jones in the stands, whose son Terrence Shawell was one of the Trojan's shining stars a decade ago, was back.

She came back because the lights were back, but also because she now has two grandsons on the field.

And their father, Lonnell Allen, played football there as well.

You can never have too much family tradition.

Then there are all the volunteers.

There are the PSMA parents hopping to it in the snack bar (a post I filled faithfully for the four years my son was in the band).

Pottstown High School Band Director Mike Vought knows his 
students are delighted to be able to perform under the lights again.
And out on the field, another set of parents runs the pit crew for the band.

Then there are the equally dedicated parents in the Gridiron Club who man the smaller snack bar on the home stand -- the only one that sells French fries.

Students in various clubs and activities have tables to raise money for their activities, knowing that a gathering of half the town is a good place to market your wares.

Alongside them, are Pottstown's many dedicated teachers, either as advisers of just because they think its important to support the school.

The Gridiron Club's snack bar was hopping.
There are a few Pottstown Police officers, keeping the peace but generally having an opportunity to
meet and talk with people in town who are not in the midst of a crisis requiring police services -- no one is at their best then.

But Friday night, Pottstown was at its best.

It took three years, but the money for the new lights was finally scraped together, by people working together, so on crisp autumn Friday nights, they can all get together.

Here are the Tweets, mine, other Mercury staff, and the school community. We all worked together.

No comments:

Post a Comment