Pick-up Soccer Group Fosters Cross-Campus Connections

Noontime Boom Time, a growing lunchtime gathering on Hollingsworth Field, brings diverse Gusties together — a prime example of community in action.
Posted on December 21st, 2021 by

A casual soccer group made of Gustavus students, faculty, and members of the Saint Peter community, Noontime Boom Time has grown into something more than a lunch hour passtime.

By Frija Reinert ’25

“I always have a great big smile on my face when I get to run out of my office door at 11:45 to go down and play,” said David Tobaru Obermiller, associate professor in history, environmental studies, and Japanese studies, and a leading force in Noontime Boom Time.

A casual soccer group made of Gustavus students, faculty, and members of the Saint Peter community, Noontime Boom Time has grown into something more than a lunch hour passtime. It’s a unique example of the spontaneous community building that happens at Gustavus. 

Open to players of all abilities, the group meets regularly on Tuesdays and Thursdays at noon to play soccer on Hollingsworth Field, or “the pitch.” It started several years ago as a small group of mostly staff and faculty, led by head women’s soccer coach Laura Burnett-Kurie. What began as small scrimmages with a dozen players has grown through word of mouth to games of ten or more players per team, with matches taking up half the field. Many of these players started out as novices, which reflects the welcoming atmosphere for all who want to play. 

Boom Time continues as long as the turf is free of snow and the weather is “reasonable,” though below-freezing temperatures haven’t been a deterrent in the past. “Our goal is to play as long as we possibly can,” said Obermiller. 

Connections made on the pitch often carry over to social get togethers, leading to friendships among people who might never have met otherwise. There’s no one way to identify a Boom Time player; they range from students in their twenties to employees in their fifties, admissions officers to chemists, international Gusties to Saint Peter locals. With such a diverse mix of players, inclusivity lies at the heart of Boom Time. 

“From my perspective, Boom Time seems to be blind to the issues of discrimination we have in American society, whether it’s along race and ethinicity lines, gender, or sexuality,” said Obermiller. “Everyone is welcome at Boom Time.”

COVID-19 prevented Boom Time from meeting last year, and when they were finally given the green light to play, it was an emotional moment for everyone. “There were hugs and there were tears,” Obermiller recalled. “COVID taught us you can’t take things for granted.”

Boom Time has grown greatly over the past few years, but the group continues to welcome new players, with there even being talk of starting a community league. Now that Boom Time has played its final outdoor game of the year,  Obermiller encourages anyone, no matter their identity or soccer background, to join once the warm weather returns. 

“It’s really the highlight of my week. I love my students, and I love teaching, but being outside, getting a decent workout, and meeting good people, to me is a perfect combination.”

For more information on Noontime Boom Time and how to participate, contact David Tobaru Obermiller (dobermil@gustavus.edu), Martin Lang (mlang3@gustavus.edu), or Laura Burnett-Kurie (lburnett@gustavus.edu).

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Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin
jakin@gustavus.edu
507-933-7510

 

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