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Feature Article - October 2005

Shed Some Light

How to avoid making costly mistakes when it comes to sports field lighting

By Kyle Ryan

Poor lighting can—and will—ruin anything, and there are a seemingly endless number of ways to do it wrong: too much, too little, too much glare, wrong type, pointed the wrong way, etc. Like so many things in this world, when lighting is done right, you probably won't notice it. But when it's done poorly, you can't ignore it. To rephrase former Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart's famous quote about pornography: "People may not know what makes lighting bad, but they'll know it when they see it."

Sports lighting, particularly outdoors, has a frustrating number of variables and standards, all of them specific not only to the sport but the level of competition and environment. Those standards can collide head-on with the ordinances of the surrounding area, which may limit pole height, brightness and pollution. It takes coordination to balance all the variables, but it's not an impossible task. With the right amount of preparation and research, anyone can find a setup that works well for them.

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