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Lights go out but the show goes on at the Herd School Day Game

Posted at 5:42 PM, Jan 17, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-17 18:42:00-05
  • Thousands of Wisconsin students came to Oshkosh Arena to watch the annual School Day Game.
  • The power briefly went out during the game with 3,500 people in attendance.
  • The students still had an incredible day and heard an important message about mental health.

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

The lights go out, but the show goes on. I’m reporter Olivia Acree in Oshkosh, where the Wisconsin Herd turned a power outage into an incredible day for thousands of Wisconsin kids.

“Come on come on,” said Jackson.

Thousands of kids like Jackson from Omro.

“Come on Herd,” said Jackson.

His first Herd game is sure to be one he never forgets. Especially because the power went out.

“Is this supposed to happen?” asked Jackson. “I thought that this was just a joke that this is how every single Herd game goes.”

But it was not a joke. Wisconsin Public Service told NBC 26 that a tree hit their equipment and caused the power to go out for 20 minutes. The outage impacted 4,700 customers in OshKosh, plus the roughly 3,500 people at the game. All that aside, the game had an important cause.

A cause that mental health expert Wendy Harris has dedicated herself to.

“We go through tough stuff in life and sometimes with no fault of our own we can get knocked down,” said Harris. “We deserve to feel better.”

The Wisconsin Office of Children's Mental Health said 37% of young adults in Wisconsin have experience with mental illness. That’s above the national average.

Harris said if the kids take away one thing, it's this:

“If they have a trusted adult in their life, that can be hugely, hugely protective for their mental health,” said Harris.

Wisconsin Herd president Steve Brandes had one wish for the kids too.

Inspire at least one to two to three to four to five plus, many youth to walk away and understand that there are people they can talk to if they have challenges.

Youth like nine-year-old Jackson.

“Yeah!” said Jackson.

For these Wisconsin kids, basketball might have been just what they needed for their mental health.