TOC set to begin new chapter
Twenty-eight years ago, Eric Snyder had one of those night’s where he couldn’t sleep.
He remembered a passage from a book written by legendary college football coach Lou Holtz who stated that he would “get up and do something to make him tired.”
So Snyder decided to follow the initiative. He had his concept and groundwork for the then initial Tournament of Champions, but he wanted to add another twist. Snyder wanted it to be a rotating tournament in which a different league every year would be the host site.
“I still have the letter,” he recalled. “I hand wrote it and stated how it would be a good idea to have it played on a rotating basis. Needless to say, that never happened.
“But we did get the tournament going.”
Next week, the 28th version of the Tournament of Champions will take place at the Catasauqua Playground from Monday, Aug. 7 through Thursday, Aug. 10. There will be 12 teams in the bracket.
It marks the end of summer basketball play in Catty.
Snyder remembered the heydays of summer league basketball when leagues stretched from Easton to Lehighton for nearly three decades from the 1970s to the 1990s. He was disappointed to hear that a league in Tamaqua disbanded due to commitment issues.
Locally, there is still an active league in Stiles.
“There seemed to be a league in every big town or city,” he said. “We must have had 18 to 20 leagues and it really made for a packed tournament years ago.
“But there is a huge commitment to running these leagues and more people got out of it. A woman who ran a league in Tamaqua told me that it stopped because she couldn’t do it anymore and no one stepped forward to run it.
“It’s a shame, but that’s how it is. Guys don’t have the time anymore and the younger guys aren’t active with it as they used to be. Around here, it seems to be the same group of guys who are still playing.”
In the Catty League, Ohlson Landscaping defeated the Nites, 76-70, for the league crown. They will advance to the tournament along with Blue Monkey, who won the regular season title. James Snyder, Eric’s son, is among several Catty and Northampton alums who are on Blue Monkey’s roster.
In the North Catty League, Carmaci Dental met Lampster DNA and Dan’s Siding met Potts’ Hot Dogs/JS Salvage in the semifinals Tuesday night. The championship was held Wednesday evening.