September 28: Football Under The Lights

msnslog2We’re about a month into the professional and college football season, so it’s only appropriate that we mark a special event in football history. On this day in 1892 the football team from Wyoming Seminary traveled to Mansfield, Pennsylvania to face off against Mansfield State Normal School’s squad in a game that was the first of its kind: The first football game played at night.

In those days it was not unusual for a small private college prep school like Wyoming Seminary (so named because the school was located in Northeastern Pennsylvania’s Wyoming Valley) to take on a collegiate team like Mansfield State. With that said, this first night game was highly irregular. For one thing the lights didn’t provide enough illumination. The lighting was so bad, that several players actually ran into the light fixture. So, the two teams agreed to only play until halftime. In the end, the game only lasted 20 minutes, and the final score was a 0-0 tie.

Although it wasn’t a particularly good game, it’s still celebrated for its historic importance. Every year, during the last weekend of September, Mansfield holds a “Fabulous 1890s Weekend” during which the game is re-enacted under better lighting. In 1992, the Monday Night Football game between the L. A. Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs held on the evening of September 28th doubled as a celebration of “100 years of night football.” Both of the participating schools still exist. Wyoming Seminary continues to play football to this day, while Mansfield University (formerly Mansfield Normal School) disbanded their football program in 2006 after a disappointing 0-10 season in the NCAA’s Division II. During the team’s final three seasons, Mansfield put up a record of 2-29.

To celebrate the first football game played under lights, I tried to find a drink that had an appropriately “light” name. So, I present to you The Enlightenment, a drink fittingly created by Aidan Demarest of the wonderful Los Angeles bar The Edison. Demarest describes this drink as “The thinking man’s whiskey and a beer, or the poor man’s Champagne Cocktail?” and recommends using Woodford Reserve for the bourbon and Edison Light Beer, from Boston’s New Century Brewing Co, but any light beer will work just fine. You’ll want to use a light beer like Edison Light or Sam Adams Light so that this cocktail doesn’t get too hoppy.

The Enlightenment

  • 2 ounces Bourbon
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce pomegranate syrup
  • Light Beer

Shake the bourbon, lemon juice and pomegranate syrup with ice, Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and top with light beer.

Tomorrow: We tilt at windmills.

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