Starting on Thursday, the fifth annual Lansing Roundball Classic will take place at Memorial Junior High, 2721 Ridge Road in Lansing. It’s an event that has been helping to raise funds for local organizations and highlights the athletic ability of our village’s fifth-grade boys basketball teams.
“The tagline and theme is ‘Bringing the community together,’” said Rick Seymour, co-director of the tournament. “We have the public schools playing the private schools that they normally don’t get a chance to play against.” Five Lansing schools will participate in the tournament. Seymour and Lansing physical education teacher Sally Reynolds founded the tournament and have continued to organize it each year.
Not only does the event bring together students from various schools, but money brought in as admission goes to a Lansing charity. During each day of the tournament, canned items are also brought in to be donated to the Lansing Food Pantry. Numerous other groups within the community get involved by helping out at the concession stand during the games. It’s great to see something take place like this that does encompass so many different parts of the community and benefits so many.
Games begin at 6 p.m. on Thursday and Friday. Doors open a half hour before game time. On Saturday, the games begin at 11:30 a.m. A championship game and awards ceremony takes place at 6 p.m. Feb. 20. Admission for each day of the tournament is $1 for students, $2 for adults and $5 for a family.
On the night of the championship, nonperishable food items can be donated for the food pantry in lieu of the admission fee. Donations can also be taken at any time during the tournament. Seymour said the participating schools are also holding food drives in February and the school that collects the most food receives a plaque to be hung at the school. Oak Glen School was last year’s winner.
During half time at every game is a hot shot contest where girls from the fifth-grade basketball games compete by shooting from different points on the court.
The charity benefiting from the tournament has not yet been determined, but past recipients have included Meals on Wheels, the Lansing Food Pantry and LARC. “We try to look around and see where there’s the most need,” Seymour said. In the past four years, close to $10,000 has been raised.
A nice addition to the tournament is the assistance of the South Suburban College basketball team in working with the players during one of the days of the tournament. The team currently ranks as No. 3 in the country in their division among junior colleges. Seymour is grateful for the cooperation of SSC coach John Pigatti, who encourages his players to support the local communities.
“It’s a great weekend with the kids coming in and playing and the families coming in and it’s a great time. The mayor is a big supporter. We can’t do it without the volunteers we get — the youth center, the Lan-Oak Park District, the women’s club, the teacher’s union,” Seymour said. “It’s nice to see the community come together.”