No field, no lights

SUHSD provides portable lights to sports

Various sports and extracurriculars utilize
the soccer field after school due to the
construction taking place at the football
field. The portable lights active once the
sun goes down.

Grace Na

Various sports and extracurriculars utilize the soccer field after school due to the construction taking place at the football field. The portable lights active once the sun goes down.

Isabella Garcia, Sports Copy Editor

Due to daylight-savings time (DST) coming to an end on Nov. 7, portable light generators have been set up on the soccer field at Bonita Vista High (BVH) for sports teams. The athletic department in the Sweetwater Union High School District (SUHSD) office was contacted in order to acquire these temporary portable lights.

Athletic Director and Head football coach Tyler Arciaga “forecasted” the need for lights due to DST, in addition to construction on the track and football field. Without the lights, student-athletes would have their practices cut shorter due to the sun-setting around five o’clock. 

This influences BVH teams like football, lacrosse, soccer, field hockey and track, as their games are typically held on the football field.”

— Isabella Garcia

Due to construction, they must play on other fields which don’t have any built-in lighting. Arciaga hopes next year all teams will be able to take advantage of the track and football stadium by holding home games.

“Soccer, lacrosse, field hockey and track, they’re all going to be having their home games on this field [BVH football field]” Arciaga said. “Freshman and JV football, then varsity football, it’ll be determined based on the capacity limits, as we may have to play at Southwestern [college] because there’s limited capacity here [at BVH].”

Assistant Principal of Student Activities, Christopher Alvarez, and Arciaga began the process of obtaining the portable lights by contacting the district’s athletic department office, in order to present the issue. The dilemma was introduced to Athletics Program Coordinator, Alex Estrada, at the district office. 

“We [Alvarez and Arciaga] presented the dilemma [the demand for lights because of DST] to Mr. Estrada, he understood,” Alvarez said.

Schools within the district contacted Estrada to handle the portable lights. Since the lights are for outdoor sports, this is a part of his job. Some SUHSD schools are facing lighting problems whether its construction, end of DST or lighting issues in general. For BVH, all three problems are tied to the focal issue of student-athletes not having enough light to practice and play games. However, the current issue impacting student-athletes is that DST ended.

“Having lights allows us [coaches] to extend the amount of time and usage [of the soccer field],” Arciaga said. “Especially during daylight savings time for all the outdoor sports since we don’t have a [football field] or track, and we don’t have a real auxiliary field.”

The district helps schools such as BVH by funding the total cost of the lightsfrom renting them to paying for their fuel.

 “It’s in our budget, it’s an added expense to anything we do [at the district],” Estrada said. The district works with Otay Mesa Salesthe company that the portable lights are rented from.

Arciaga and Estrada previously arranged for four portable light generators. Not long after, they discussed the need for more lights due to a referee shortage for soccer. Arciaga and Estrada coordinated four more portable lights to arrive at the beginning of August bringing a total of eight lights to the soccer field at BVH. 

“[Portable lights have] a positive [effect on sports teams],” Alvarez said. “It gets dark about five, even earlier than that and having the portable lights helps the teams practice a little longer.” 

In addition to the shortage of referees for soccer, these portable lights currently hold an impact on both boys’ and girls’ soccer. 

“For soccer, they can’t send [referees into the game]. We used to have three games going on at once so they would send us 4 referees, 2 for the varsity, 1 for the JV, 1 for the novice,” Arciaga said. “Now they’re only sending us two referees so we can only play one game at a time, and so we’re going to utilize the lights.” 

With help from the portable lights, BVH soccer teams will be able to hold home games, even when they play after the sunsets.

“It’ll [the portable lights] give them [soccer teams] a more normalized practice time and with our limited facilities it keeps them here. We had to move soccer last year,” Arciaga said.

This school year, sports practices are held later in the day, with the latest change of BVHs start and end time. 

“One of the drawbacks to the late start time, especially in the winter, [is that you] don’t have the daylight,” Arciaga said. “Having the lights allows us to do that, so teams don’t have to practice at five in the morning just [to] get a decent practice in. Otherwise, they’d be going out there for forty five, fifty minutes and that’s their practice.” 

Since these portable lights are temporary, they are only going to be on the soccer field for a few more months, or even until March when DST starts up again. The hope is for the portable lights to remain at BVH for only a couple of months until there’s more daylight in the afternoon.

“The ultimate goal would be providing these lights that offer up extra practice areas and space for all our teams to practice,” Estrada said. “Why do schools have to make decisions that we cut programs or teams because we don’t have fields for them to practice. We provide lights and make arrangements [so they can] have an extra two hours of practice time. It’s a matter of getting student-athletes on the field.”