Tournament for Tots brings joy to the holidays


Justine Phipps

Huskey welcomes the teams in the opening ceremony.

By Justine Phipps, Carlmont High School

Imagine being a six-year old with no presents sitting under your Christmas tree. It’s not because you were naughty, but because your family was not able to buy you toys for the holidays. Something as simple as a toy car or a teddy bear could make a difference in a child’s holiday experience.

For the past 23 years, Carlmont parent Terry Huskey has organized a Tournament for Tots softball tournament to give toys to children in need. Partnering with the local fire departments, Huskey collects toys from his tournament and donates them to the Firefighter Toy Drive.

“My only objective is to put toys in the toy box,” said Huskey.

In 1991, 20 men’s slow-pitch softball teams came out to participate in the first Tournament for Tots. In 1994, the tournament had 64 teams participating. It continued to be a men’s slow-pitch tournament until 2005. In 2009, Huskey decided to change things up.

“My daughter was 12, and [I decided] to bring it back as a girls’ fast-pitch tournament,” said Huskey.

This year, the tournament began on Friday, Dec. 5 with the first round of games, and continued in San Carlos at Highlands Park on Saturday, Dec. 6, and in Redwood City at Hawes Field on Sunday, Dec. 7.

Huskey says the tournament raises thousands of dollars every year, and hundreds of toys are brought in.

Every year, students from Carlmont take time out of their weekend to participate in the friendly tournament that invites teams from all parts of San Mateo County to participate. The Holiday Spirit team has participated for seven years, and consists of girls who have been playing softball together since as young as age 6.

Sofia Magnani, Notre Dame junior and Holiday Spirit member, likes playing in the tournament because she gets to see her old friends and teammates–and also because it’s a good cause. “It feels great to make a child’s Christmas better… some people aren’t as fortunate as we are.”