Fans use phones to light wrestling tourney after power outage

Commentary: In Utah, technology comes in useful when the lights go out at a high school.

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


Modern technology at work for the common good.

KSL5TV/Craig Milligan/Twitter screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Did you see Justin Timberlake shriek at the Super Bowl crowd to turn on their phone lights during the halftime show?

Isn't this by now a touch passé? Oh, apparently it isn't for some. Personally, I worry it's a gimmick that's had its day. And night. 

Sometimes, though, cellphones can provide useful mass illumination.

On Sunday, the lights went out during a wrestling tournament at Dixie High School in St. George, Utah.

As KSL5 TV reports, the first two days of the tournament had gone without a hitch. The finals, however, were plunged into darkness. The power went out.

"I was, like, how are we going to finish this?"Jarad Carson, the high school's wrestling coach, told the station. 

It seems the idea to light the arena with cellphones was organic.

Crowd lights wrestling tournament with cell phones after power outage

A high school wrestling tournament in Southern Utah had a bit of a different look to it this weekend. When technical difficulties threatened to derail things, the crowd found a way to keep things rolling. News specialist Sean Moody has the story.

Posted by KSL 5 TV on Sunday, February 4, 2018

"It was a group idea between myself and the tournament officials," Carson told me. "They felt they could safely and effectively officiate the remaining matches." 

It seems at least a couple of battery-powered spotlights were handy and the rest of the lighting came from the crowd itself, which wanted to contribute to the tournament's completion. (The power didn't come back on until 30 to 45 minutes after the event was over.)

"We brought everyone in mat-side," Carson told KSL5. "It was very intimate. It was completely surrounded by kids and fans and people who were here in our building."

I do think of wrestling as an intimate sport. 

Surely, then, it might be a real crowd-pulling idea for all wrestling tournaments to ratchet up their intimacy by insisting fans light the mat. 

Just think how much the organizers would save on electricity.