Thomas Edison invented the light bulb for the purpose of bringing light, and its accessibility, to the masses. Edison said that “we will make electricity so cheap that only the rich will burn candles.”
While Edison was right in his prediction of how easily accessible electricity is to the people, it still hasn’t changed the lighting situation at D.B. Milne Field, until now.
During the summer of 2014, D.B. Milne Field got a much needed makeover that included lights for the new and improved stadium. The makeover also included increased seating and a new and improved press box.
While the Dolphins were not able to host a night game in 2014, they did host the first ever night game at D.B. Milne Field in 2015 against Stetson which coincided with this year’s homecoming celebration and capped of a week of festivities.
“We knew we wanted to play a night game going back to last year,” said Dave Farraday the Senior Associate Athletic Director for Internal Operations. “Having a night game is something new and will be the culmination of a lot of homecoming festivities.”
The lights are not only pivotal for hosting evening contests, but they also provide the ability for later practice times and the ability for sports other than football to utilize the benefits of having the lighting system.
“When you add lights, it added and additional six to seven hours of usage during the day,” Farraday said. “It also gave us some cooler temperatures for practice.”
As exciting as possible night games at D.B. Milne Field is, Dolphins’ fans should not expect too many night contests in the coming years. Jacksonville Football plays in the Pioneer Football League that features only one other team in the state of Florida and only two others that are in the Southeast. This makes it difficult for teams with smaller travel budgets to cover the costs of flights and hotel stays.
This still isn’t keeping the Jacksonville athletics staff from scheduling contests with non-conference opponents at night and Farraday and expressed a desire to try and do just that in the coming years.
While the scheduling of night contests might be limited in the future, the athletics office seems poised to continue with the new tradition of night games at D.B. Milne Field. The athletics office hopes that with this new tradition comes the soothing feeling of a night game that every football player and fan long for.
“It’s not coincidental that they make movies about it and that there’s a certain lore about that night time football game,” said Donnie Horner, JU Athletics Director. “It’s festive, collegial, fun and a slice of Americana.”