Back in the mid-seventies, Our Lady of Perpetual Help was a thriving parish, and the school already sported an active athletic program. The school offered football and basketball for 6th, 7th and 8th graders as well as numerous extra-curricular activities. Many students also participated in Little League throughout the summers, and the parish was alive with action.
But, following one Sunday’s Men’s Club meeting, as we were relaxing over a cup of coffee, we began reminiscing about our own grammar school experiences, and commenting about the “highlights” – those evanescent 15 minutes of fame – of our all too-short athletic careers. We realized that OLPH was remarkably similar to St. Ignatius and St. Gertrude’s parishes on the north side of Chicago, where we were born and bred, and where the highlight of our school year just happened to be the annual “Intramural Basketball Tournament: -- a tournament in which all children from 5th through 8th grades who wanted to play, no matter their skill, were part of a team. The unique feature about those tournaments, we concurred, was that everyone played.
Why couldn’t OLPH do the same thing? The Men’s Club instantly liked the idea and approached the pastor, Myles McDonnell, to see if a weekend in March could be set aside for a tournament, which was thereafter aptly named “The Roundball Classic”.