Schools plan to light empty stadiums in honor of seniors

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HAMILTON COUNTY, Tenn. (WDEF) — Coronavirus has put a pause on the sports world, leaving many high school seniors in our area with little hope of playing their last spring sports season. However, some Tennessee Valley coaches found a way to shine some light on those seniors, even during quarantine.

On Friday at 8:20 — or 20:20 military time — the stadium lights at East Hamilton will shine for 20 minutes in honor of 2020 senior athletes all over the area who have most likely already played their last game.

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“Those kids have done a wonderful job representing East Hamilton the last three, three-and-a-half years,” East Ham football coach Grant Reynolds said. “We’re just doing that to be mindful of kids like that, and all over town and all over our country.”

The idea started in Colorado, and trickled down to here in Tennessee. It won’t be just East Ham’s lights shining. Notre Dame, Walker Valley, Central, Ooltewah and others plan to join in.



“Even though we play against other schools, some of them might be our rivals or enemies so to speak, when something like this happens, everybody’s able to come together, and it’s a unified deal showing all of our different schools in the area and all of our student athletes that play spring sports that we’re behind them,” Ooltewah football coach Scott Chandler said.

The Owls plan on lighting up all the empty stadiums on campus as a beacon of support in the night sky.

“Everybody dreams of your senior season,” Chandler said. “Twenty years down the road you get a lot better when you talk to all your buddies. So, for them not to be able to play, I can’t imagine how it’s going with them or how they’re dealing with it.”

“I think having our lights on on Friday night gives some brightness to this dark time, and shows some positivity,” Reynolds said. “There’s a lot of negative things right now in our country, a lot of negative things with this disease and this virus, and we just want to bring some light into the darkness, and if we can do that for 20 minutes in a positive way, I think that’s a good thing.”

The TSSAA has yet to officially cancel the spring season. However, even if sports restarted tomorrow, the athletes still would’ve missed two-thirds of their final season.