How It Got Started
In 1996, my dad, Jack Schaeffer Sr. bought a house in Bonita on a huge lot with plenty of land on both sides of the house. He announced to the family, "When escrow closes, I'm going to lay down some concrete for a basketball court. And just as soon as the cement dries, we are having a basketball tournament!"
My dad kept that promise, and in March of 1996, family and friends came to his house for a 3-on-3 basketball tournament. All of the players threw in $10, which he used to buy trophies for the winners, a bunch of ribs and chicken for the barbecue, and plenty of beer and sodas. Everyone had a fantastic time! They all wanted to know when we could do it again. So it was decided to make it an annual event.
The following year he decided to make t-shirts to commemorate the event, so everyone pitched-in $20. We have made t-shirts for every tournament since. There were nine teams, which just about pushed the limit with the one court, so it was decided that the following year it would take place at a park, on multiple courts.
My cousin, Justin Schaeffer worked for the City of Chula Vista, so he was able to get a permit to use the courts at Rohr Park. Now we have to pay for that permit, but a very generous participant donates those fees in order to ensure that the tournament continues!
Meanwhile, my step-dad, Larry McKinney has been living with Multiple Sclerosis. He was diagnosed about 25 years ago, and since then my entire family has been rasing money every year for the MS Walk, which is a huge fundraiser for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. About 15 years ago, my dad decided to use the popularity of the Schaeffer Classic to raise even more. So we upped the fee to $25, and all of the proceeds are donated to NMSS.
In the early years, the entry fees barely covered the expenses, so the majority of the donation to NMSS came right out of my dad's pocket. But since then, the tournament has grown to greater than 20 teams! Due to the added participation, coupled with more efficient management and generous donations from players and spectators, we have been able to raise thousands of dollars to help fight MS!
While my dad still helps out every year, the tournament organization responsibility has been passed on to Justin and myself. Our contact information is listed in the "Roster" section, along with my wife, Lety. Feel free to contact us with any further questions.