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#BeTheLight Hits the Gem State
Friday's "Be the Light" campaign will illuminate outdoor high school stadiums from around the state
Published: 4/7/2020 4:04:07 PM

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 In light of spring athletics on the brink of cancellation due to COVID-19, schools across the country are taking the light into their own hands, and Idaho is no different. 

Friday night, Idaho high schools will hit the switch, illuminating their outdoor stadiums for 20 minutes to honor the class of 2020. The show of support will begin at 8:20 p.m., with the number of participating schools growing by the second as word of the “Be the Light” campaign spread like wildfire across social media. 

“It’s all for the kids and showing them they are not alone and coaches and schools are thinking about them,” said Brian Hardy, Valley athletic director and president of the Fourth District athletic directors. "And for rival schools to show that they are in this together and we all support each other in difficult times.”

Idaho's event resembles those seen in Montana and Colorado. Those looking to attend are encouraged to stay in their vehicles during the 20-minute span, keeping in line with social distancing practices to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. 

Tyler Richins, head football coach at Sugar-Salem, said he hopes the stadium lights, which can often be seen for miles, will offer a bright spot in an otherwise grim spring sports season.

“We want to reassure them that we are thinking of them, we have not forgotten about them and we hope that soon we can return to our schools and playing fields where we love to compete,” Richins said. “We hope that seeing those lights might bring some reassurance and hope to those that might need it no matter their circumstances.”

The event comes off the tail of a bleak announcement by the Idaho State Board of Education, which voted Monday to extend the “soft closure” of schools until the end of the academic year, unless school districts meet certain health requirements. Those requirements, which will likely be determined at a later date, look to be the only hope for schools returning to their normal operations. 

And while the Idaho High School Activities Association has yet to make an announcement regarding the cancellation of athletics, the clock continues to tick on the 2020 spring season. 

“Athletes need to know that it’s OK to have feelings of anger and sadness and to reach out to teammates and coaches for help,” Hardy said. “I feel horrible for them, but I also know they have coaches and teammates that will help them and will do anything for each other. That’s what teammates do and that is the bond you can only find from participating in high school sports.”

Richins, who's Digger athletics staff will take part in the #BeTheLightID campaign, said now is the perfect time to let seniors, not just athletes, know they are not alone. 

“I hope no one would ever think what they have done is a waste. In moments like these, when times get tough, we can draw from each other’s strength,” Richins said. “We can take a moment to think about others who may not be as fortunate as us. Sometimes when we look around what we are experiencing our hardships aren’t as bad as we thought.”



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