For the second time in six years, the Hobbs Holiday Tournament has been cancelled.
The 2020 version of the tournament would have been the 62nd for the boys and fourth for the girls. However, thanks to the New Mexico Activities Association’s schedule release on Wednesday, there will be no tournament this year. In fact, there will be no tournaments of any kind in New Mexico.
“I am so sad about it because boy we had a good tournament lined up this year,” Hobbs Athletic Director Brenda Wilson said. “We had a strong tournament for both boys and girls this year, probably the strongest in a long time.”
“You always want to play it, but with how everything is going, I understand too. This is one of those years that you have to sit back and say something is going on,” Eagles basketball coach Shelby Reeves added. “As long as the tournament has been going on, this is just the second time that it has not been played. For us, it hurts. We like to play those games and play those teams who are coming from out of town. I thought this was going to be a real good tournament coming up, but it is what it is. It is out of our hands. There is not too much we can do about it. We just have to move on.”
Wilson was holding out hope that some way, some how, the tournament would still be able to be held. But that hope vanished Wednesday.
“I didn’t cancel it until (Wednesday) because I was still holding out hope that we would be able to have it,” Wilson said. “I think we could have worked around the large crowds if we just had the teams. We have three gyms, so we would have been able to work it out, but because of the large group gatherings, (the NMAA) told us we couldn’t have any tournaments in any sport. So at that point, I canceled it.”
Joe Carpenter, the Lady Eagles head coach, was disappointed when the cancelation reached him on Wednesday.
“That is horrible,” Carpenter said Wednesday afternoon. “And there is nothing we can do about it. It is what it is. Our community really thrives on that and the tradition. We are just going to have to keep that tradition going next year and get fired up about the next year.”
One thing Wilson did do when informing school athletic directors of the cancelation was give them an invite to the 2021 tournament.
“I extended the invitation to them for the 2021 tournament,” Wilson said. “We have had some that have accepted that (invitation). Hopefully we will have the same lineup.”
On the girls’ side, El Paso Canutillo and El Paso Montwood have both already accepted the 2021 invitation.
Among the teams slated to play on the boys’ side of the tournament, South Mountain, Gallup, Artesia, Odessa High, Cleveland, and Las Cruces High were planning to play in the tournament.
“Odessa called me last week asking if we were still going to have the tournament,” Reeves said. “They don’t know what their state is doing and they said if we aren’t, they needed to try to get into something else to get some games.”
Not only is the tournament a big part of the Hobbs High School athletes lives and career, but it is also a big part of the lives of those in the Hobbs community.
“I think the holiday tournament is part of their Christmas tradition,” Wilson said. “I just think it is a tradition that Hobbs has been used to for a lot of years. You come home for Christmas and go to the Hobbs Holiday Tournament. That is just what you do when you are from Hobbs. I think it is going to be hard and people are going to miss it this year. … But we will make it really, really good in 2021.”
“I have told several people and they have asked me,” Reeves added. “The first thing they ask me is, no holiday tournament? I think this is going to be a big impact on the town and just a lot of basketball fans.”