By Jeremy McDonald
GERVAIS, Ore.– Over the past few weeks, the lights have lit up the Gervais Football field in honor of the Class of 2020 on Friday night’s.
And as the sun set on this early June day, kid’s trickle into the football field as Head Basketball Coach Ben Schultz, a Gervais-Grad, spins the jams like he’s DJ Khalid.
“It’s something to do for the Seniors,” said Schultz. “I mean they got the rug pulled from under their feet. It’s hard for them. A week for 20 minutes for them is something we can do.”
Schultz heard about the ‘Be the Light’-movement and had approached the Gervais Vice Principal who then went to the Superintendent who said ‘go with it’ and talk to Athletic Director Tim Bowman about it. About the same time Tim Bowman heard about it through other AD’s and went through the same channels as Schultz only to be told that Bowman’s Head Boys Basketball coach had already beaten him to the punch.
The two talked and Bowman had gave Schultz his blessing.
“So I got a call from him that night and said, ‘if you want to do it, run with it. You live closer than I do, I’ll get you all the keys and have fun’,” said Schultz. “It’s been great, the community’s loved it. The teachers have loved it. We got one more to go, hopefully we can get a bigger crowd with social distancing of course. But get that turnout and hopefully it’s good.”
Schultz has been live-streaming it on Facebook and has used his football announcing voice to start and end the festivities, a far cry from his basketball voice he has every Winter coaching the Cougars.
The scoreboard reads ‘2020’ as the lights come on every 8:20, 20:20 in military time. They’ve even used the time to honor one of their own in Pablo Jaramillo back in May when the longtime community coach passed away by giving him his own ten minutes on top of the twenty minutes for the Seniors.
And as the school enters their final ‘Be The Light’ next week on Thursday June 11 instead of June 12, still at 8:20, the students relaxed as the cool breeze came through the stadium where they once played ball.
Sitting on the bench along the homestand side of the field, Senior Xaden Ramos who had played football, basketball and did track for the Cougs admits how cool this whole thing is. Giving him some time to remember the good times as he drew on sometime playing football on this June evening.
“We were out here running with the whole team in my last year,” said Ramos. “Playing football out here. I’m going to miss everyone out here, but they’re in good hands with (Head Coach Tracy) Jackson. They’re in good hands, good coaching, good coaches out there.
“I’m going to miss it most being out here, putting my helmet back on. I’m going to miss it.”