I came to Dana Hall School 18 years ago, as the Director of Athletics, Health and Wellness. The charge from the then Head of School was to help in the process of visualizing, creating and building a new athletics facility; and, as importantly, to bring spirit and pride to Dana Hall’s Athletics Program.
Over the years we’ve added captains announcements at morning meetings, varsity award banquets, seasonal team picture boards, an Athletic Hall of Fame, an alumnae gallery, an updated website, our Dana Dragon Instagram and Twitter accounts, our spirit club called “The Crew,” and, oh yes, a terrific new facility!
Nothing, however, compares to an idea hatched five years ago by several of us in the Athletics Department. We started “Friday Night Lights” as a centerpiece to our Family Weekend in the Fall. While it may not sound novel, it was/is for Dana Hall School. Over the years crowds have approached close to 1,000 spectators as rabid fans from both Dana Hall and our rival, Newton Country Day School, scream, push and cheer their respective teams onto hopeful victories.
Each year, Varsity Field Hockey faces off under the temporary lights at 5 p.m., followed by Varsity Soccer at 6:30 p.m. Both the Varsity Volleyball and Cross Country teams, whose games/meets are earlier in the afternoon, come to cheer on their “sisters in sports.” As the fever pitch builds I am thrust into a role that is not normal — crowd control! I vividly remember a senior two years ago running the sidelines with pompoms as a figurative broom, sweeping spectators off the sidelines as referees implored the fans to “step back.” The spirit sweeper and I worked hard that night while having so much fun being in the middle of athletic spirit and Dana Hall pride.
When the games were over, lights turned off and darkness was slowly recapturing the night you saw and heard a large group of Dana girls singing the school’s Alma Mater. Whether they had won or lost, the song, the spirit, and the huge swaying circle was always the same. As I watched I was also filled with athletic pride and school spirit recognizing that Dana Hall’s rich traditions will always live on. We have one week until this year’s Friday Night Lights — I can’t wait!