While Steve Anderson might not attend basketball tournaments multiple times, he says he “will always attend” the Surrey RCMP Basketball Classic.
For about 15 years, Anderson and his student athletes have taken part in the tourney, for boys.
“When I started at Southridge (School), to be honest, I just wanted to be part of the tournament, but we never really had an opportunity to get in,” said Anderson, adding that the tournament has limited space and a team needed to drop out in order for Southridge to play.
Then one year a spot opened up, and Anderson said it “was great.”
“The event itself, I really like the fact that it’s just for Surrey, where pretty much everything else we do is kind of at a provincial level where there are teams from all over the province,” he said.
This year’s tournament started Sunday (Jan. 13). Senior and junior teams are in action at school gyms across Surrey, with the championship games to be played at Enver Creek Secondary on Saturday, Jan. 19.
Anderson said Southridge is one of only a handful of private schools that participate in the Surrey RCMP Classic.
“There might be one or two other small ones, but not too many. It’s definitely a majority public school event. I think when the tournament itself started, the whole purpose of the tournament was… to connect the RCMP with the public schools.”
Now in its 28th year, the Surrey RCMP classic is something Anderson said he looks forward to every year.
“I build it (my schedule) around the RCMP tournament. I will not attend other tournaments, but I will always attend the RCMP tournament because I think it has that much value to stay connected in the Surrey basketball community and also with the public schools and to show that we’re in a partnership here.”
The week-long Surrey RCMP Basketball Classic began in 1992, and organizers call it the largest RCMP sponsored tournament in the country. “The tournament was created by the Surrey School District and Surrey RCMP to help foster positive inter-school competition and create a healthy relationship between the RCMP and students.”
During the tournament, more than 70 games are played, involving close to 650 students from high schools in the district. The tournament ends with the senior championship game, and the presentation of a number of awards.
In the spring, there is the All Star Classic which showcases the top 20 graduating boys and girls in Surrey. Scholarships are also presented during that gathering.
For more info on the Surrey RCMP classic, visit surreybasketballclassic.info.
The tournament, Anderson said, is a way for Southridge, and other private schools, to connect with the public schools.
“I actually find that over the years, although we’re a private school, I feel that we’re pretty much connected and looked at, I would say, the same as the public schools,” he said.
Anderson said there “has always been a little bit of animosity toward some of the private schools,” partly because some people feel that private schools “play on a different playing field for the most part.”