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From the Desk of Mark Hollis: Friday Night Lights

Sept. 1, 2011

From the Desk of Mark Hollis Blog

In conjunction with the beginning of the 2011-12 academic year, Michigan State Athletics Director Mark Hollis will begin providing regular content on with his new blog: From the Desk of Mark Hollis.

Friday Night Lights - Thursday, Sept. 1, 2011

Growing up in a small village in the thumb of Michigan, football games on Friday night were always a special time.

As a young child, I remember going to games and watching the team run onto the field as they busted through and enthusiastically destroyed the cheer squad's paper banner. Not long after kickoff, my buddies and I would start a game of touch football behind the bleachers. We would always take timeouts to catch a glimpse of our guys playing the game that brought us together. Hearing the band play and the cheers rise from the hundreds of fans that would gather along both sidelines occurred in most every community. Like many others, once I was in high school, I was fortunate to play the game on fall Friday nights under the lights.

Labor Day brings to Michigan a special meaning, almost a transformation from the summer months to a return toward focus and academics. The last summer weekend is a time for people from our state to enjoy everything it offers during the season one final time. It is time to join with family and friends for golf, boating, biking, hiking, swimming, or simply enjoying time together around the BBQ. With Michigan K-12 schools now starting after Labor Day and high school football games moved to Thursday night, an opportunity was created to provide Spartan fans with a time to come together and also enjoy all that our state offers over this holiday weekend.

As such, we are looking forward to hosting Spartan fans on campus this Friday when we play under the lights. Historically, it is an afternoon and evening that is quiet on our beautiful campus. We realize that some challenges are created due to work schedules and we respect the campus academic mission of the day. At the same time, the timing of this game brings a positive impact to our team, fans and state. It provides for a day of learning, an opportunity for Spartans to gather together on campus, and an exciting Spartan football game.

Thanks to everyone for the cooperation and excitement they bring into this special game and the new Spartan academic year. And finally, the opening Spartan football game brings to me memories of my playing days some 30 years ago at Croswell-Lexington. Enjoy the game, enjoy the weekend. Go State!

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