On a sunny, windy April day, political scientist Peter Kolozi hit the first – and only – home run at Bronx Community College’s (BCC) first annual PSC faculty/staff pizza picnic/softball game and membership meeting. Union members cheered. Players from both teams wore the PSC “uniform”: black-and-white union T-shirts declaring, FIVE YEARS WITHOUT A UNION CONTRACT HURTS CUNY STUDENTS (see "T-d off: Five years without a contract"). The game was a friendly match, and it took place on a softball field on top of the hill where BCC sits.
Kolozi, an associate professor in the college’s social science department, was one of the architects of the idea that pizza, picnicking and play would make the union chapter stronger. Unstructured time in the sun is a good thing, he told Clarion as he stood on the grassy field: “We get to stand around and talk, and I think it brings us together.” Speaking as a political scientist might, Kolozi said the game was a way to foster “organic community and organic solidarity.”
Two dozen PSC members turned up to BCC’s April meeting; besides fun in the sun, the main order of business was to elect a new chapter chair. Outgoing Chapter Chair Sharon Persinger presided over the meeting from the top of the green bleachers.
From the Bleachers
“I’ve enjoyed this job. If I hadn’t enjoyed it so much, I wouldn’t take on another role,” said Persinger, who will be assuming a union-wide role as PSC treasurer, after running unopposed in the PSC elections this spring.
Lenny Dick, a longtime member of the BCC chapter’s executive committee, nominated Sharon Utakis to take on Persinger’s old role. Dick described Utakis as someone “who gets the job done.” Discussion ensued, and many voiced agreement that Utakis was the right person to lead the chapter forward. Once Utakis was voted in, Persinger ended the formal part of the April meeting.
“I’m literally stepping down,” she said, as she stepped down from the bleachers. “Have pizza and play softball!”
Karen Taylor, an associate professor in the math and computer science department, came planning to attend the meeting, grab a slice and go. “I didn’t plan on staying,” said Taylor half an hour later, standing on BCC’s Ohio field with a softball mitt in hand, “but I got caught up in the game.” Taylor said she plays softball “every 20 years or so,” and this year she decided at the last minute to play ball.
The lone player in outfield was adjunct assistant professor Stefan Bosworth, who said he quickly found out that “my catching is better than my throwing.” Megan Maiello, who teaches criminal justice, was putting her time spent playing softball in high school to good use. Maiello was pitching, and said she’d joined the game for a simple reason: “They needed someone.”
Another veteran on the field was District Council 37 member Mercedes Giménez, an office assistant in the math and computer science department and former catcher and third-base player for her Bronx high school’s softball team. JawiedNawabi, an assistant professor of economics and sociology, said he’s more of soccer guy, but he played catcher in his black-and-white contract T-shirt and jeans. “It’s good to be out here. It breaks the ice with the faculty,” he said. “You see each other in a different light, in a lighter light.”
On the sidelines before the game was BCC head baseball coach, Adolfo De Jesus, a chief CLT who recently coached the Bronx Community College Broncos to a CUNY championship win. “This is a good way to build friendship,” De Jesus commented, noting that many of the players that he’s coached have stayed friends for 20 years or more.
With one inning to go, both teams took a break to take a group photo. But after the photo, the players didn’t return to the field. The game didn’t resume and no winner was declared.
When an inquiring reporter asked the score, one player responded, “Let’s just say it was 8-7,” he said, without saying which team was ahead. “Just say it was a really close game.” A player on the other team added, “It was more like 8-8.” No one seemed sure, or very concerned. The sun was shining, the pizza was eaten and that was enough.