Six years of lights

Horde teams play night games next week

The air is a little cooler and you can sometimes see your breath as you stand watching the games. But it is a tradition Granville athletes look forward to as much as homecoming – it’s time for Lights Week. 
Lights Week returns to Granville for the sixth time with games on three nights with a schedule of contests under the lights for most outdoor varsity sports.
Gas-powered lighting units owned by the Whitehall Recreation League will be rented and hauled to town for nighttime competition by the varsity teams.
Among the sponsors for the annual week of games, Bernardo’s and Bongo’s owner Ben Bernard says he is happy to be part of what has become a special tradition for the Granville athletics he enjoys so much.
“This was developed for the kids because school sports are all for the kids,” Bernard said. “When we started this I just wanted to see if it was going to work and I’m glad it did because it’s good for the school and good for the kids.”
Bernard said he thought it was unfortunate a coaching or administrative decision was going to prevent one of the night games.
“It’s too bad for the field hockey team. I understand they won’t get to play under the lights. I hope that will be addressed for next year,” Bernard said.
Bernard said one of the most rewarding things about getting involved in bringing portable lighting units to illuminate what are otherwise dark fields is the additional fan support seen at all of the night games. It ranges from the additional spectators who come out for the games to the support other teams show for their fellow athletes, often showing up with signs and painted faces.
“The response has been great. The community has really come out and supported the games,” Bernard said.
“It brings the community together; it really shows that it can work. I’m just glad to be a part of it,” Bernard said.
“(Lights Week) adds some spark to the community. Something is going on every night and everyone gets involved not for just one team,” Bernard said.
Jim Zappone at Zappone’s Chrysler Jeep Dodge said he was surprised to hear when planning for Lights Week that the event has been happening since he came to Granville. “As I said in the past it’s a lot of fun; it’s great for the kids and we have a ball doing it. It’s what we do,” he said. “We love giving back to the community and love doing what we can for the kids because it’s all about the kids.”
“I usually go to a couple of games during the week and then, of course, the football game Friday; it’s great to see the community come out and support the teams. We’re excited and it’s fun to see the kids get so excited,” Zappone said.
The final details are always being worked out right up to the last minute but Bernard said he had some event in the works for half time of the Granville Golden Horde versus the Hoosic Valley Indians varsity football game next Friday night.
The week begins Tuesday night, Oct. 5, as the Granville Golden Horde boys soccer team hosts the Stillwater Warriors under the lights at 6:30 p.m. at the Telescope Fields.
No varsity game is scheduled under the lights for Wednesday night; the Granville varsity field hockey team will play at its regular time during Lights Week, 4:30 p.m. behind the Granville Elementary School, taking on league rival the Hoosick Falls Panthers. 
Starting back up Thursday, Oct. 7, the Granville Golden Horde varsity girls soccer team will square off against the Hoosic Valley Indians at 6:30 p.m. at the Telescope Fields.
Capping the Lights Week festivities will be the Granville High School Homecoming Game as the Granville Golden Horde football team hosts the Hoosic Valley Indians; kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. 
Bernard said sharing the cost of the lights allows several area businesses to get involved without one taking on a huge financial burden during tough times.
The lights week is brought to the community through a combined donation by Bernardo’s, Bongo’s Burgers, Camara Slate, M. Shaw Insurance, Manchester Newspapers, Subway and Zappone Chrysler Jeep Dodge.

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