A swell party, but why so late?

The debut of the lights at the Kennett High School football field last Friday was something of a double-edged sword or a two-sided coin.

On the negative side, it is inconceivable that a school like Kennett in the wealthiest county in Pennsylvania waited this long to light up its field -- much less get a football team at all.

On the positive side, the event itself was almost magical, eliciting community spirit and local support. To see the crowd and its enthusiasm last week was almost like watching kids at Christmas or a birthday.

First the not-so-good part of all this:

Kennett High School has for years occupied a position of prestige, not only in southern Chester County, but in the greater Philadelphia area.

According to some reports, it was at one time the largest consolidated school in the nation, and its graduates distinguished themselves by going to excellent colleges and distinguishing themselves in their adult careers.

Yet when the nearby schools got football teams, Kennett held back.

True, the population was somewhat diminished, but there were certainly enough kids to go around to suit up for both soccer and football in the fall.

And then there was that old urban legend about a death of a superintendents son on the gridiron many decades ago.

Its amazing that to this day, the rumor still exists, even though school historians have checked it out and found it to be untrue.

It gets worse, however.

When Kennett finally got around to getting a team, some neighbors objected to the installation of lights, even though all the other schools had them.

The last we heard, high schools have had stadiums and lights practically since Year 1. It is hard to imagine that people would move into a neighborhood that adjoins a schools athletic field and somehow find its activities objectionable.

Isnt it a sort of bonus to live so close to the excitement of a high school stadium?

We also have to wonder why a committee of parents had to raise money for the lights on their own. Dont the taxpayers shell out enough to support a well equipped athletic field?

On the positive side, who couldnt be impressed with the reception the community gave when the lights finally went on?

It was like finally waking up on Christmas morning after all that anticipation.

The reaction to the event by the Kennett High School was truly creative and almost overwhelming.

Giving away T-shirts marking the date of the lights was a grand show of generosity, as was allowing everyone in the stadium for free.

The Avon Grove and Kennett bands had obviously prepared well for the event, and they buoyed the spirits of the teams and their fans all evening.

From all appearances, everyone was well behaved, and the schedule went along without a hitch.

Both teams played a game they could be proud of, and, certainly, a victory of one point made the competition interesting.

Sure, it was a long wait, but Kennett celebrated the final switch-on with style.

What a swell party it was.

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