Lighting Up The Night
The lights went on at 8:20 Monday night at Schreiber Field. While the mecca of Indiana high school baseball has sat quiet and empty this spring as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown, the diamond sparkled for 20 or so minutes as a tribute to the seniors who don't get to have their final season. "There's a lot more going on in the world, but we also want them to know that we haven't forgotten about them either and we're still thinking about them," La Porte coach Scott Upp said. Upp said his wife was scrolling through her Facebook page when she came upon a story about the Be The Light Movement. The idea originated in Texas and has quickly picked up momentum across the country as a way to recognize seniors who aren't getting the chance to play this spring.
Why 8:20? In military time, that is 2020. "We have to put them on a little earlier," Upp said. "It takes a little longer for the transformer to heat up." Schools have the option of turning the lights on once or all week. Upp plans to light the field each night all week. "It's not something they have to do," LP senior Logan Schroeder said. "Although it's a little thing, anything baseball related, with us not being able to play anymore, honestly, it means a lot. It's hard not being on the field, especially with the new grass growing in, but it's nice at least to just see it. I've talked with a few players and I'm willing to bet every senior will come out without having to ask them to be there." Logan, twin brother Mason and six other seniors gathered for a socially-distant group photo outside the fence behind home plate to commemorate the moment. "I think it's pretty cool," Mason Schroeder said. "It doesn't make up for not having a season, but we can't control that, so I'm happy we could at least do this. When I got the text, I thought about going out and playing catch one more time." Though there's not much Upp can do to fill the void for the seniors, he hopes the gestures are appreciated. "To be honest, the best way I can really say it is it's just really depressing," he said. "Some kids have worked so hard for however many months and they don't get the chance to put it on display to see if it works. You just miss the excitement, the emotion of getting a base hit to win a game. We've got kids who might be interested in going on to play baseball after high school and this makes it pretty tough. Again, you have to keep it perspective that there are more important things going on than high school baseball or any baseball. We can't put the kids in harm's way. That makes it a little easier." The next project will be a senior spotlight on Twitter, posting player biography information along with a picture. "We can't gather. We weren't 100 percent sure on the roster, so we couldn't get the senior banners they do on Lincolnway for us done," Upp said. "There's not a lot we can do or say, things that are out of our control, but we've got a couple things were still deciding on to try to recognize them." Outside of that, coaches like Upp are left with logistical issues like what to do with spikes and pants that had to be pre-ordered. "We can't have our fund raiser. We don't have a reserve for that," he said. "I'd feel horrible to return these things because the salesman's on commission, but what do we do with all the stuff? We can't keep it for next year. The sizes would be all screwed up. It's one of those things that people aren't privy to that we're concentrating on right now."
The lights at La Porte's Schreiber Field were turned on Monday night at 8:20 as the high school took part in the Be The Light Movement, a nation-wide effort to recognize the seniors who aren't getting to play their final prep season. The diamond will be illuminated for roughly 20 minutes during the same time frame each night this week.