When the clock strikes noon, it’s time to ball

Yusuf+Khan+with+the+ball

Yusuf Khan with the ball

Photos by Kate Nuelle

Friday. Noon. Webster Gym. That’s all you need to know to join a weekly pick-up basketball game, and Trinity students, faculty and staff have been doing it for decades.

Noon ball has been around for so long that not even Mark Lewis, a professor in the Department of Computer Science and the person in charge of the noon ball mailing list, is completely sure when the tradition first started.

“Noon ball was a thing when I was a student back in the early 90s,” said Lewis, who is a 1996 Trinity alumnus.

As noon ball goes into at least its third decade, there is still a strong weekly turn out, according to Lewis.

“Our numbers vary. This year we’ve been getting between 10 and 23 most weeks. As long as we have at least eight players, we will run full court. Once we get to 16 players we will run two courts of four-on-four. We try to keep things moving so that no one is sitting out too long because a lot of the faculty and staff are just there on their lunch break,” Lewis said.

Noon ball is open to all, but the majority of participants are students. According to Lewis, students make up roughly 50 to 70 percent of players most weeks. Lewis also said that the number of staff members who join every week has grown, and professors are the smallest group of participants.

“With the loss of Dr. Pursell [a former Trinity chemistry professor who took a new job to be closer to his grandkids] we are down to just a few faculty who play regularly. I think that Dr. Terrell in engineering and myself are the only regulars. Dr. Dupertuis from religion is known to show up occasionally as well,” Lewis said. “We’d love to have more faculty. I’m trying to bring in one of the new faculty in my department, but I haven’t succeeded yet.”

Part of noon ball’s appeal is the social aspect. According to senior Saul Malek, the social opportunities provided by playing pick-up basketball is what keeps him coming back every week.

“I’ve always loved playing basketball. It’s also a good way to meet new people to get in contact with to run games with during the week, [and] to get people’s contact information and stuff. It’s also cool to kinda bond with the professors in an environment that isn’t in class,” Malek said.

Malek started going to noon ball in his first year at Trinity, and he intentionally makes time weekly to attend noon ball.

“I started going freshman year, so 2016. I’ve started to make my class schedule so that I don’t have class on Fridays at this hour, so [I come] as often as I can with my class schedule,” Malek said.

Yusuf Khan, a senior who has also been showing up to noon ball since his first year, explained why he continues to play the

“For one, the social aspect. You meet a lot of new people. I made most of my friends playing basketball here. And also, most of the time at Trinity you don’t find full-court games, and usually when you come to noon ball there’s a full court game going on,” Khan said.

It isn’t only current students who swing by Webster Gym on Fridays to shoot some hoops. Trinity alumnus Kody Nace, who recently graduated in 2019, first attended noon ball as a junior in 2017 and still comes out to play basketball.

“[I come back for the] exercise. I don’t really play basketball much anymore, but I do when I come here. This is an opportunity to play, and I make friends here,” Nace said.

To join the noon ball mailing list, email [email protected] for more information.