To the players:

Take a step back, take a look up.

Yes, the young men on the Darien football team have played under the lights on Friday nights before, but never at home. Friday at 6 p.m., Darien will take on Brien McMahon in its first ever home night game. The newly installed lights at the high school are a tribute to those around the community; starting with the Darien Athletic Foundation and Darien Light Brigade, and what persistence can accomplish.

Because of these groups, because of decades of lobbying, planning, bartering, fundraising—and because of the generosity of 800 families in Darien, these players will get to experience a rite reserved for high school football.

More Information

Message from the Darien Police Department

The Darien Police Department will enforce traffic regulations and monitor security for Darien High School’s first night football game. All traffic will enter the DHS campus from Noroton Avenue. High School Lane and Nutmeg Lane will be closed to incoming traffic. Spectators are strongly urged to carpool as parking at the high school is limited. Due to the large number of vehicles expected, parking regulations and designated tow away zones will be strictly enforced. A handicap permit is required to park in the limited handicap parking spaces available. When parking capacity has been reached, Noroton Avenue extension will be closed to vehicular traffic. Additional parking is available at United Methodist Church, the Darien Community Association (DCA), Middlesex Middle School and McGuane Field. No parking will be allowed on Noroton Avenue and in those areas that are specifically designated as “No Parking.” Spectators are reminded that the consumption or possession of alcoholic beverages on school property is not allowed per Darien Town Ordinance. This will be strictly enforced. No tailgating will be allowed on school property due to safety concerns and the large amount of vehicles and traffic that is expected. All bags, backpacks and coolers will be subject to inspection. Spectators will not be allowed to bring bottles into the game.

At the conclusion of the game, incoming traffic will not be allowed onto DHS campus grounds until the parking lots are clear. DHS campus grounds will close to the public after all parking lots are clear. Cooperation of the public is appreciated and will ensure a safe and enjoyable evening for everyone.

Friday Night Lights have become a calling card for the sport. There’s something about standing on your own turf, with family, friends, classmates or the abject community member standing behind you, cheering you on.

Take it in.

Take a deep breath of the cooling fall air, look up into the dark sky and realize what a privilege it is to be able to do what no other team in the program’s illustrious history has had the honor to do.

Then, get back to doing what you’ve done for the past 26 games.

Win.

And to the community members, the board members, the DAF, really be proud of yourselves for what you were able to bring to, not just the football team, but every athlete at Darien High School that gets to experience a home night game.

Especially to those parents already past the point where they could relish the moment, or the families that donated with the knowledge that neither they, nor their family, would benefit directly, but that their efforts could help support a dream of young men and women who work so hard on and off the field and deserve the full athletic experience.

Police are expecting a substantial crowd Friday night, and they should. If you live in Darien, even if you don’t have a kid in the program, go cheer on the families that do. Go check out the beautiful complex that just got a little bit better.

After Friday, night games in Darien will become the norm. The mystery will eventually wear off, and it should. For years to come these athletes should get used to the thrill of playing under the lights, and the youth players in the town should look ahead with excitement.

It’s only a shame it took this long.

aparelli@bcnnew.com @reportedbytheAP