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Registration opens for Bookstore Basketball

Nicole McAlee | Monday, February 18, 2013

Registration is now open for Notre Dame’s Bookstore Basketball tournament, the largest five-on-five outdoor basketball tournament in the world.

The not-for-profit tournament is in its 41st year and has grown from an initial 40 teams to more than 700 teams. According to the tournament’s website, it is the largest extracurricular event on campus and open to all Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross students, faculty and staff.

Senior Matt Lynch, tournament president, noted much planning goes into organizing such a large event.

“We have an eight-person executive team…each person has a different role. One person is making sure that all of our apparel gets in, another person takes care of the marketing side, and we have around 36 other commissioners that help us do the game-by-game stuff,” Lynch said. “I’ll be doing the bracket of all the teams in a couple weeks, talking to Jumpball which is our charity that we give all our money to, and any other logistical things like reserving court. I oversee our group, and our group does all of that.”

Lynch said the main goals for this year’s tournament are to register more teams and to improve the [tournament] atmosphere to draw more spectators to the games.

“Our big goal is to eclipse that 800 number on teams. We realized that a lot of students don’t play. The faculty and staff might not even know they can play,” Lynch said. “Besides the teams, we just want to make sure everyone has a fun, successful tournament. One of our big goals is, for the championship game, to make it more of a festival atmosphere.”

Lynch is looking to add food and entertainment to the games in hopes of attracting bigger crowds this year.

“Last year we estimated that we had about 400 people come out to watch the finals, but we definitely think we can have more,” he said.

All proceeds from the tournament benefit the Jumpball Basketball Programme, which partnered with Bookstore Basketball in 2002 to raise money for youth basketball camps in Jamaica.

“We made it a not-for-profit tournament where we give all the money to Jumpball. They run camps throughout the whole country of Jamaica for the youth, completely free of charge for them. Basketball is a really up-and-coming sport down in Jamaica,” Lynch said. “The biggest [camp] is in Kingston, and every year, two bookstore basketball representatives go down there.”

Last year, Lynch said he had a profoundly moving experience when he visited the Jumpball camp in Kingston.

“It was an unbelievable experience, kind of hard to put in words right away. Just to see how happy and excited the kids are just to have a basketball and dribble around and play,” Lynch said. “It’s different around here. Everyone here cares more about winning and trophies and all that, which is great, but down there just the fact that they were there and doing something was just amazing to see. It’s one of those really unique, once-in-a-lifetime things.”

Lynch said above all he is excited to see the tournament unfold over the next two months. Come gametime, fans can see him out on the courts with his own team, the Firm. The other members of the executive staff are each on their own teams as well, he said.

“To be honest, I just like being out there. Our executive staff is out there every day, from the beginning of the tournament to the end,” Lynch said.