Optimism Pays Off: Lights Back on for Kids' Football Games

Copper thieves stole wiring from little league field in August

Little league football players in Fort Worth competed under the lights again Thursday night after copper thieves nearly stole their season.

In late August, someone stole thousands of feet of copper wiring used to power the lights at an athletic park run by the Optimist Club of Fort Worth near Interstate 35 and Felix Street.

The volunteers who run the program didn't have the money to fix the lights. Repairs were estimated at more than $10,000.

"Somehow we'll come through this," said Tommy Janes after the theft.

Janes, a former school principal, has helped run the park for 40 years.

The Optimist Club was optimistic but did not have a plan.  And without lights, there wasn't enough time for all the teams to play before dark.

Executives from several companies heard about the program's plight and stepped in to help.

Chesapeake Energy donated $4,000, and Fort Worth Electric donated more than 100 hours in free labor. Other companies donated more money.

Young football players cheered Thursday in a ceremony to turn on the lights after the repairs were made. They then took to the field to play under the lights.

"The best part is, you can see the ball clearly," one player said.

"I told you we were going to be optimistic that we would somehow find it," Janes said. "It just shows that deep down, everybody really cares about others, and it was a team effort."

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