The reasoning is to provide a bit of hope for the high school athletes who have lost their chance to compete with their classmates, especially the seniors who are graduating.

Athletic facilities across the state of Minnesota will see their lights turned on Monday nights in a show of unity for the thousands of high school athletes who have seen their seasons cut short or flat out canceled by the COVID-19 outbreak.

#BeTheLightMN will take place at Sleepy Eye Public and Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s Schools Monday nights at 8:20 for 20 minutes. The whole idea began in Texas and has swept the nation ever since with many states participating.

The reasoning is to provide a bit of hope for the high school athletes who have lost their chance to compete with their classmates, especially the seniors who are graduating.

Sleepy Eye Public co-head softball coach Tim Hoffmann believes the message in #BeTheLightMN is a lot more than just supporting the student-athletes and coaches missing out that are involved in these sports. He believes it provides a chance for us to look at ourselves and see how we can make a positive influence. “I believe it means to look for opportunities to make a positive difference and find hope during these challenging times.” Sleepy Eye Athletic Director and head football coach Cory Haala shared a similar perspective.

“Whether it’s the football field on a Friday night in the fall or a local baseball field during the summer, the lights signify something special,” says Haala. Haala hopes that lights gives the entire community the hope and support they are searching for in these dire times. “”The lights signify a place where people go to be with their friends, family, or teammates not just to watch or play, but to enjoy the comradery.” Haala ended his thoughts by saying that he hopes the lights being shined upon the local fields brings the community back to the fun times we have shared in the past and a time where we soon can make new memories.

Knights head softball coach Wendy Owens like many others in our situation found it difficult to come up with words to explain the feelings the student-athletes must be going through. “We as adults know that there is so much more to life that defines us than our athletic careers, but not to be given the chance to experience it due to these circumstances, wow.” Owens continued that perhaps we can learn and grow from the unfortunate circumstances. “I believe that sometimes on the way to a dream you get lost and find a better one and maybe that is what God is allowing to happen to us right now in these difficult times, but it is up to us to move forward, as difficult as it is.” Owens encourages student-athletes to “be the light” to light your path to keep your dreams alive, no matter the direction this pandemic takes you.

Gathering at the fields won’t be allowed per the social distancing rules, however the community is encouraged by the schools to participate by turning on their porch lights along with the field lights to show unity. You can also drive by the field or park off to the side and provide support for all those involved.