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EDITORIAL: Lights are back on for HS sports

Lead Summary

The lights are back on at Ely School Stadium. When the coronavirus pandemic hit this past spring, students were sent home to distance learn. All sports were canceled. The lights went dark.
In an effort to lighten the spirits of athletes and fans, baseball and football fields across the state were illuminated once a week for 20 minutes and 20 seconds as a tribute during the spring months.
The Echo editor was stationed at the baseball field, the publisher at the football stadium at 20:20 military time. When the clock struck 8:20 the levers were thrown and the lights went on.
This past Wednesday night there was a different scene at the football stadium. The lights were on and despite rain and snow at times, there were players on the field and fans in the stands.
The season would normally have started a month earlier and now it will go a month later. The temp was in the 30s Wednesday night but there was warmth in the hearts of those who waited so long for this to happen.
The pandemic has taken more than lives, it has taken a part of who we are and what we do. Above all it has taken away normal.
That’s why everyone had a bounce in their step as they walked to the field Wednesday night. There was a sense that a bit of normal is starting to creep back into our lives.
For this being the first home game of the season, it sure didn’t feel like one. The calendar said October 14 and boy did it feel like it. Rain that looked like snow stopped and started throughout the evening.
By halftime the home team was in the lead and fans headed to the concession stand. If you were lucky you got a cup of hot chocolate - it went fast.
But the boys on the field didn’t seem to mind the weather - they were just glad to be back on the field.
Before the game started, Ely’s five seniors were recognized - a good idea since we’ve learned more than ever tomorrow is not promised to us.
The seniors and the team put on a great performance. They shut out a Cook County squad that would have to ride the bus back down Highway 1 after a 20-0 loss.
But maybe they didn’t mind that much. At least they were able to play a game under the lights. In today’s world, that’s as good as it gets.

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