By Carlee Frank

While the holidays are perfect for family, friends and copious amounts of food, they’re also perfect for healthy competition and school rivalries.

This year, the annual Emerling Holiday Basketball Tournament will be hosted in the Springville High School gymnasium Dec. 27-Dec. 29. Springville boys and girls junior varsity and varsity teams, as well as teams from surrounding school districts, will vie for championship trophies.

Emerling Ford and Emerling Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and RAM have been providing the trophies and sponsoring the event since 2005. Carl Emerling, president of Emerling Ford and V.P. of Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and RAM, said McDonald’s sponsored the tournament in the 1960s and 70s, but the games laid dormant for decades until he and a few coaches decided to revive the tradition.

“We thought that it gives the students and the parents something to do over the Christmas break, and also brings people into town to help support our restaurants and local businesses,” Emerling said.

SGI Athletic Director Joe Demartino is in his 8th year with the district and is supervising the 2017 games.

He noted that 16 teams will compete this year, totaling nearly 200 participants, and said the tournament gives the athletes extra play time while school is not in session.

“It is three days of a lot of fun- and typically, the kids, parents and coaches truly enjoy this time together during the holiday season,” Demartino said.

The tournament is supported by many SGI teachers, such as SES P.E. teacher Robert Gainey, who coaches the girls Varsity team. He mentioned that his favorite part of the tournament is getting to watch all of the different teams and the unique playing styles they bring to the games.

So, if you need a break from the holiday madness and want to watch an exciting competition between local basketball teams, stop by the Springville High School Gym at 10:30 a.m. on Dec. 27.