CONWAY — Down in front.
That’s the message Conway School Board member Joe Mosca has for folks turning out to Gary Millen Stadium to watch the Kennett High football team or its band and dance teams perform under the lights.
Mosca told his school board colleagues that last Friday’s home game between the Eagles (5-1 in Division II North) and Milford (5-1 in Division II South) drew a large crowd, and some spectators stood in the front row of the bleachers obstructing the view of fans behind them.
Things got so bad, according to Mosca that he had to go up to the press box and ask school superintendent Kevin Richard, the announcer for Kennett football, to make an announcement over the public address system urging spectators to keep the walkway clear and not to obstruct the views of others trying to take in the action.
“I told some people at the football game Friday night that I would bring this issue up,” Mosca said under board member issues at Monday’s Conway School Board meeting in the Professional Development Center at Kennett Middle School. “People who sit in the bleachers, when people stand at the fence, they can’t see the game. They can’t see the band. They can’t see what they came for.
“Kevin made an announcement Friday night, and once he made it, people moved away from the fence but then came back. I think everyone has paid their admission and they are sitting there to watch the game that they should be able to watch the game. I liken it to going to a Christmas concert and having the people in the front row of the Christmas concert stand up and then everyone else can’t see or they have to stand.”
Mosca would like to see signs made and put along the fence in front of the bleachers that prohibit people from standing there and to have Richard make an announcement four times a game, asking people to sit and be respectful to people who are sitting.
“I think it makes for a better experience for everyone who is there,” he said.
Mosca said Richard isn’t sure the signs would work.
“It did work, albeit briefly when he made the announcement,” Mosca said.
“Somebody actually listened to me Joe,” Richard said to board chairman Joe Lentini with a big smile.
“Could we have a recording of that and just keep hitting the button,” Lentini asked.
“It’s not when people take a quick picture, it’s when people, start standing there and you can’t see,” Mosca said. “If I stood in front of somebody, I’m wide, and from the angle, you might miss 10-15 yards of the field depending on where you are. As I said, it makes for a better experience for everybody if we can keep that area clear.”
Board member Cheri Sullivan questioned if there was enough seating in the bleachers.
“The real issue is there isn’t enough seating for those games,” she said and explained she’s attended games and tried to sit a little higher to see over those standing down on the ground in front of the fence around Livingston Oval.
“I’d run up and stand there during halftime, when my kids were playing instruments (in the band), and then I would leave. I would apologize to those people, but I think (lack of seating) is the real issue. I wonder if we should be talking about making more seats available?”
“I don’t think it’s a seating issue so much,” Mosca replied. “People gather at the rail and they aren’t necessarily watching the game. Some of the people are trying to take pictures, and as I said, the section of the bleachers closest to the (Art Walker Concession Stand), where all the band parents are, they’re there, I hate to say it, to watch the band. They may watch some of the game, too, but they’re there to watch their kids and cheer their children on and be supportive. When people are standing right in front of them, they can’t see.
Mosca said he believes people are unaware that they are blocking others’ view.
“I like to give people the benefit of the doubt,” he said. “I would just like to see if we could do something to try to keep that area clear, and even if we have someone who walks up and down every once in a while it might be helpful and be a better experience for everyone sitting there.”
Board member Randy Davison liked the idea of signs on the fencing.
Mosca asked Virginia Schrader, director of the MWV Career and Technical Center, is students could make a few 4-foot-by-6-foot or 4-foot-by-7-foot signs to go on the bleacher fence.
“Our students can make anything,” Schrader replied with a smile and agreed to make some signs to be hung prior to the next home football game, which is set for Friday, Nov. 1, when the Eagles host Bow (6-0 in Division II North) at 7 p.m.