The coronavirus pandemic has brought many aspects of life to a screeching halt, including schooling and education-based activities. Schools are closed, athletic fields sit empty, thousands of athletes remain in limbo, unsure if they've played their last games.
To shine a light on those athletes and to provide a message of support and hope, a growing national movement is under way to #BeTheLight, turning on the stadium lights at high school facilities around the country.
In less than a week since the idea was introduced here in Wisconsin with the Badger State-specific Twitter hashtag of #BeTheLightWI, more than 250 schools have already participated or pledged to participate in the coming days. To see the full list of schools, click here.
We encourage all schools to join in this campaign by turning on stadium lights at your fields this Friday, April 17th at 8 pm to let your students, especially the student-athletes and others participating in all forms of extra-curricular activities, know that you are thinking of them, you are supporting them, and you will be there for them when they return.
If you participate, we encourage you to post photos of your stadium lights on social media using the #BeTheLightWI hashtag (and feel free to tag @wissportsnet). You can also send photos to us (click here) to share if you are not on social media.
Some schools that have previously participated have turned their lights on for 20 minutes to recognize the Class of 2020 seniors. Some have invited community members to join or drive by, while staying in vehicles and/or following Safer At Home guidelines. Displaying messages on scoreboards, posting photos of senior athletes on the video board, and turning on lights inside gymnasiums are other ideas that some schools around the country have adopted. Our neighbors in Minnesota saw more than 250 schools participate in a #BeTheLightMN campaign last night.
We invite you to join in this growing movement to provide a beacon of hope and support, and to consider participating in the #BeTheLightWI movement every Friday night until schools and athletes return.
As the video below reveals, we will all come back home again.
Travis Wilson serves as the WisSports.net General Manager, Football Editor, and contributing writer for other parts of the site. Wilson was selected as part of the Sports 40 Under 40 list by Coach & AD Magazine and the National High School Athletic Coaches Association for 2019. The Wisconsin Football Coaches Association (WFCA) named Travis the 2015 recipient of the Dave McClain Distinguished Service Award. He currently serves on the WFCA Executive Board as the Website and Communications Director and is a member of the Executive Board of the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association. A graduate of Richland Center High School and Mount Mercy College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Travis was a three-sport athlete in high school (football, baseball, basketball) and currently resides in Reedsburg. You can follow him on Twitter at @travisWSN.