Early morning pick-up basketball connects staff

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Alex Kelly

Assistant Principal Joshua Knudson looks to take the ball to the rim

Alex Kelly, Webmaster

On a cold Friday morning before dawn, the lights flick on in the Burlingame gym. Few students are on campus, if any. But in the gym at 7 a.m., things are lively. Teachers and staff are sprinting across the court, calling out screens and defenses to each other, making shots from all over the court. This is all part of the new intramural basketball games Burlingame staff hold weekly.

“We started with the idea, I think last year last semester, and then Covid hit… But then we decided recently like, Okay, we just need to show up to the gym, and finally it happened,” Burlingame counselor Earvin Buckner said. 

The games started five weeks ago, following unsuccessful attempts to schedule through student sports and the omicron outbreak. These games consist of anything from smaller three-on-three games to full court five-on-fives, which can get competitive, according to Buckner.

“Last Friday, we finally got a four-on-four game, and it was getting intense. You know, we’re calling fouls. And we’re like, ‘No, that’s a moving screen!’ which was fun. But it remains chill and respectful,” Buckner said.

The skill gap really doesn’t matter to the guys on the court. Sonny Lau, math teacher and ex-assistant basketball coach may be cutting the defense, and Spanish teacher Stephen Held can out-rebound everyone, but everyone is just out there to have fun. 

These games are also a chance for staff to connect outside their jobs at school. Assistant principal Joshua Knudson arrived at Burlingame in fall 2020, at the beginning of a year spent in distance learning, and values the time he spends with his colleagues on the court. 

“For me, it’s been really positive to kind of just have an interest with people outside of school, that it’s something we all share and something we can all do,” Knudson said.

Both Buckner and Knudson acknowledged that they would like to see an expansion of staff intramural activities, with Knudson noting the possibility of playing volleyball in the future.

“I definitely would encourage more people, more staff members to come, you know, anyone, because right now it’s barely, on a good day, like under 10. So the more the merrier,” Buckner said.