I know many if not most of you have little or no interest in the WOBM Christmas Classic but it’s something that has been near and dear to me for 33 years and of course has the WOBM name attached to it.

What to most is just a high school basketball tournament is actually much more than that and a true testament to what can be done with hard work, good friends, great partners and a desire to do something that lasts longer than just a basketball game.

For the fifth consecutive year RWJ Barnabas Health is the presenting sponsor through their local hospitals like Community Medical Center (Toms River), Monmouth Medical Center (Long Branch) and Monmouth Medical Center Southern Campus (Lakewood).

For sure the WOBM Classic is built around the 52 games that will be played over 7 days beginning this weekend at the Pine Belt Arena in Toms River.  16 boys and 16 girls teams begin the quest for the championship with the girls first round games taking place tomorrow and the boys on Sunday.  The tournament will resume on December 26th with games every day through the finals on December 30th.

While we have not yet played a game already the coaches and players have enjoyed some of the perks of being in this tournament.  Coaches took part in a dinner meeting hosted by The Villa (across from the Office Restaurant & Lounge) last Sunday and then on Wednesday all 32 teams attended our annual Tipoff Brunch hosted by the Clarion Hotel and Conference Center.

All participants have received an official Christmas Classic tee shirt courtesy of the Causeway Family of dealerships in Manahawkin who have supported the event in multiple ways for all 33 years.  Next week I will tell you about the six student-athletes who played in last year’s tournament who will be receiving scholarships based on their academic success.

The basketball season officially opens tonight in the Shore Conference but many of the teams will be playing their first game when they hit the court in the WOBM Christmas Classic. The full schedule is available at shoresportsnetwork.com