You know the sound of floodlights snapping to life in a stadium. In sports movies, the sound (usually enhanced for the sake of drama) heralds the movie’s climax. That final showdown. If the movie is any good, you really don’t know what’s going to happen, who’s going to win. It’s the sound of our attention being completely drawn into the drama before us. Floodlights symbolize our full engagement with the spectacle before us. Any of life’s quotidian stresses that may have bothered us before this showdown are forgotten.
Even when glimpsed from the highway for a split second, stadium lights engage our imaginations. The fact that we would construct such colossal, expensive contraptions in order to get lost in the drama of competition and spectacle is, actually, pretty heart-warming. In society, there are so many things that superficially divide us: Nothing brings us all back together like a football stadium on a Friday night. To see this emblem of our shared love of drama, our helplessness against the tendency to hope and dream and aspire despite our practical sides, on such a large scale is always cool to me.
So, in honor of the magic of giant stadiums and the way their giant lights capture our imaginations, here are five things about stadium lights I bet you didn’t know.