by Sarah Richter
Walk into Luther College High School’s gym Feb. 14-16, and magic will be in the air. The high school is home to a senior boy’s basketball tournament like no other – not only is the Luther Invitational Tournament (LIT) Western Canada’s longest running tournament, it is completely student run. This year is the 56th Annual LIT.
"One of the things we want to instill in our kids is responsibility and taking pride in the work that they do. A tournament on the scale of ours allows them to really take charge,” according to LIT Director Dave Hall.
With teams participating from across Western Canada there is definitely a lot to do. Eleven student-run committees look after everything from halftime entertainment to concessions and admissions. Teacher advisors are there to make sure there are no problems.
The committees are only for Grade 11 and 12 students, but those in Grade 9 and 10 get involved by helping paint murals that cover the gym walls. The junior girls and boys basketball teams work during the games to sweep the gym floor and act as ‘go-fers’ for the participating teams.
“It’s the big event that everyone’s waiting for, especially after finals,” said Luke Hanson, a Grade 12 Luther basketball player. “It’s a new beginning, and now it’s a countdown until LIT.”
Hansen explains that the tournament is not just about basketball, but also about showing off the Luther spirit. Besides the games, there are fun events throughout the weekend, including a pep rally and a teacher- versus-coach basketball game.?
Elora McLeod is the chair of the banquet committee that handles the banquet for everyone involved on the Saturday during the tournament.
The Grade 12 student has been involved with LIT since Grade 9, and understands the responsibility involved in hosting a successful tournament.
“It’s a rush every year to get it all done, but we always manage to,” said McLeod. “All the organizing, the calling, the bookings for everything, we do that.”
Director Hall is quick to congratulate Luther students for their hard work year after year. Having played on the team as a player in the late 1970’s, and following that up as a teacher and LIT Director, he knows it would not be LIT without the students.
“This is a chance for them to do quality work, and they have not let us down,” said Hall. “They always come through. I don’t know how they do it.”
McLeod, a lifelong supporter of LIT, has attended since she was five years old. Even though she is graduating this year and plans to leave Saskatchewan for university, she said she will make sure to attend LIT for years to come.
Most former Luther students feel that way. Every year the gym is full of past students intermingled with the current ones. Generation after generation enjoys cheering for the Luther Lions from the packed bleachers.
“LIT is one of the most amazing things” McLeod said. “It’s an amazing experience and everyone gets so excited about it. You can go to any other tournament, but you don’t have the same environment… Some of us say LIT is better than Christmas.”
(Photo by Sarah Richter)