The Masters Golf Tournament is undeniably a tradition unlike any other.
The same could be said for Wednesday's Eldorado Holiday Tournament seed meeting at Dad's BBQ in Eldorado.
Coaches from the competing schools, along with a few select media members, gathered for the usual lunch and laughs, but when the top 8 seeds were announced a moment of seriousness took over the room.
Fairfield, who is currently 9-0, grabbed the 54th playing of the tournament's No. 1 seed, followed by Massac County (5-3), Herrin (4-3), Gallatin County (8-2) and Eldorado (6-2) as the Top 5 schools. The final three seeds went to West Frankfort (4-3), Edwards County (5-3) and Carterville (3-4).
Fairfield head coach Scott McElravy gave a State of the Union address on his team ‑ as did the other 15 coaches ‑ but the longtime Mules' head coach closed by saying this was one of the best teams he has ever had.
"We have a good team this year and the kids have worked hard," McElravy said after learning of his No. 1 seeding. "We're super excited about it. We've never had this before. We always enjoy coming here and love the tournament so it's a good reward for what we have had so far."
Fairfield started the season by winning the Capital Classic Tournament, beating Teutopolis in the championship game. Last Friday, the Mules cruised by Eldorado 61-28.
McElravy and company have come in as a high seed before, but said this year's squad is deeper and puts more of an emphasis on defense.
"We are deeper than any team that we've had," McElravy said. "Our athleticism is pretty good too. The kids just love playing together. It starts with our defense. We like to pressure teams and that leads into some good offense opportunities for us too."
Fairfield will open the tournament on Thursday, December 27th, playing Carrier Mills at 4:45 p.m.
The tournament starts with No. 6 West Frankfort playing Anna-Jonesboro at 8:30 a.m., followed by No. 3 Herrin taking on Carmi-White County at 10 a.m. The loser of both of those games will return for an elimination game at 10 p.m. Thursday night.
Massac County, the No. 2 seeded team, will take on Hamilton County at 11:30 a.m., while Edwards County (No. 7) will play Vienna at 1:45 p.m.
The afternoon session starts with No. 8 Carterville playing Hardin County at 3:15 p.m., followed by Fairfield and Carrier Mills. No. 5 Eldorado will play in its slotted 7 p.m. game against Norris City-Omaha-Enfield, followed by No. 4 Gallatin County and Harrisburg at 8:30 p.m.
Spyder Dann covers prep and college sports for the Southern Illinois Local Media News Group. Follow him on Twitter: @spydieshooter.