ARCANUM – Back for a third year, and second year under its namesake, the Roy Hutchinson Memorial Tournament will feature Clinton-Massie, Franklin Monroe, National Trail, and host school Arcanum. Much like last year’s competitive battles, this year’s event is expected to maintain a similar quality.
Although the concept of the holiday tournament is certainly not new to high school basketball, its recent return to popularity offer many opportunities for its host school. There is the obvious advantage of an added revenue stream for the school’s organizations that support athletic events. Additionally there are benefits in being able to face schools you may not otherwise play, squaring off against greater competition to strengthen your team’s schedule, and drawing larger crowds for the support of many student athletes.
Arcanum took advantage of another window of opportunity, utilizing their role as host to a holiday tournament, to honor the memory of one of the school’s most avid supporters, Roy Hutchinson.
Roy’s love of sports and his passionate support of Arcanum’s student athletes was always present, even into his later years when his health began declining. It was likely no coincidence that his passing happened in the offseason so that the viewing could be held at the school. Dozens of current and former student athletes came to pay their respects, and It was in that moment that his impact on the community was visibly seen.
It was my good fortune to get to know Roy better when I met my wife. Whether it was at a family holiday function or stopping to talk to him after walking on the track around the top of Trent Arena during the Flying to the Hoop, Roy was always eager to share his enthusiasm for basketball with me.
As college scouts normally visit the annual FTTH tournament, I recall one year that I had pointed out to Roy during a morning session that Bob Huggins was present. Roy being a West Virginia native, still had a deep appreciation for the Mountaineer program. I am sure he had expressed that to Huggins, since Roy had already chatted with the legendary coach before I had ever spotted him.
We would often discuss the Dayton Flyers, the West Virginia Mountaineers, and especially the status of Arcanum sports. These conversations didn’t just happen in season either. I’ll never forget the Elite Eight run the Flyers had in 2014. It was later that year in August, we were both standing in front of the coliseum at the Great Darke County Fair, and Roy still wanted to discuss his astonishment of Dayton’s incredible season.
I was blessed to know Roy and have the opportunity to share our mutual admiration for sports. Arcanum likewise was blessed by Roy’s support. The new Arcanum Girls Holiday Tournament then gave the perfect platform to honor the memory of one of the biggest supporters in the community.
There aren’t many Roy Hutchinson’s left in today’s society. It should be noted that support for high school athletics has slowly declined in the last decade and can be seen in decreasing attendance numbers. I just turned 30, but I can attest to this decline first-hand. My dad and I had attended 18 consecutive state boy’s basketball tournaments. In the early years the average attendance were around 12,000-14,000 or even much higher when LeBron James was in high school. Today’s crowds at the state tournament rarely exceed 10,000 and probably average around 6,000-8,000 per session.
Student athletes are encouraged today to play multiple sports and each sport individually demands even greater amounts of time, both in-season and in the offseason. As I remember Roy and the impact he had on his community, it is my earnest hope that more like him will follow. Considering the time and dedication that both players and coaches put forth each year, we should all make an effort to be more like Roy Hutchinson and support our school’s athletic programs.
Franklin Monroe will take court first against Clinton-Massie at 7:00 PM on Friday November 22nd. Franklin Monroe’s name has been thrown around in the conversations as potential CCC champion this year. Returning impressive size and offensive ability, the lady Jets will be a team to contend with. Arcanum squares off in the second game against fellow conference rival National Trail. This match-up will feature a lot of returning experience on both sides of the ball. Watch out for the lady Trojan defensive attack, as they look to apply significant pressure this year.
If Friday nights action does not provide your fill of high school hoops, than make sure you return Saturday for the Championship. Consolation game will be played between the losing teams in Friday’s games and will start at 7:00 PM on Saturday.