Opinion: Friday night lights went well in Point Loma
Published - 08/30/17 - 07:37 PM | 3800 views | 2 2 comments | 34 34 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Photo by Scott Hopkins
Photo by Scott Hopkins
Point Loma High School principal Hans Becker passed a tip to this writer before last Friday's first-ever use of its new permanent stadium lighting:

"They're going to turn the lights on at 6:20," Becker said, stopping for a moment in an electric cart as he scurried about, his two-way radio crackling as he and school personnel worked to cover all details of hosting a capacity crowd for a historical event under the watchful eye of local news media.

Sure enough, at the appointed minute, the voice of new public address announcer Sean Wells (an art teacher) greeted the crowd and the sounds of Rihanna's "Turn on the Lights" danced across the evening air as ...Viola! … each of the four towers came to life with instant light to the cheers of the assembling crowd.

The new lights did not have much effect on the game's opening first quarter, but slowly, as the sun descended through partial clouds, the impact of the lights became more and more apparent.

And following the sun's farewell at 7:21 p.m., the strength and carefully aimed beams of light were providing outstanding illumination to players and others on the field. Meanwhile, those in the stands were sitting under four new light poles installed so spectators would have sufficient vision for safety in the old concrete bleachers.

A half-dozen police officers from SDPD and San Diego Unified stood by throughout the evening. 

During halftime, which took place at about 7:40, I walked behind those bleachers to observe, first hand, how much light was entering the yards of immediate neighbors. The area behind the stands was actually dark, illuminated mainly by the four light poles in the stands and new lighting installed in the stadium's two access tunnels.

Later, looking at the hill above the east end of the stadium and across the field at the campus buildings, I was greeted by near total darkness. It was at that moment I realized the work of architects and lighting experts, who used computers to reduce or eliminate light "spillage" into adjacent properties, had been very successful.

The lights didn't even have a significant impact vertically above the fixtures themselves atop the poles. Aircraft roaring overhead after takeoff were also primarily in darkness.

Overall, this writer found much to praise about the new and long-awaited lights. If there are weaknesses in the system, I was unable to see them.

A message was read by Wells late in the game asking fans to dispose of all trash at the stadium and not walk on or disturb neighboring properties.

Later, long after the game had ended and I had interviewed the Pointers' head coach for my game story, I decided to take a drive around the neighborhood to see if spectators had complied.

Let me note here that Becker and several other school staffers planned to circulate through the neighborhood Saturday morning to look for and pick up any visible trash. My observations predicted they were going to have a tough job finding anything.

I drove slowly, block after block, and was able to spot perhaps four items that were out of place. And who's to say they were left behind by students and spectators from the game?

Still, neighbors will find topics of complaint.

One elderly woman, interviewed by 10News during the game remarked she was most concerned about parking, saying "There is a big school bus down there (on Voltaire Street) now, probably taking up two spaces."

With all due respect, I would like to remind her that school buses are common sights at schools. In this case, there were actually two buses, one to transport the El Camino High School junior varsity and the other to transport the varsity players and coaches back to Oceanside.

That's a 72-mile round trip, and those buses kept over 100 students safe and probably over 30 cars off the freeway.

She ended the interview by saying, "It's only going to get worse."

Of course, the potential for problems exists everywhere at all times. But let's adopt a positive attitude about this new opportunity for our community's youth. And, should a problem arise, let's approach it and resolve it with the calmness, maturity and wisdom the vast majority of us in the community are blessed with.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
September 02, 2017
Good article.. nice to know my Alma Mater succeeded with this in the right way.

GO Pointers!

Class of '71
Allen Kemp
September 03, 2017
Nice job on this article, Scott.
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