Windsor, N.J. -- In recent years, Zinna Kusnirik, who celebrated
her 96th birthday on July 31, may be best known as a fixture
at the Trenton Thunder Stadium, where she has had season tickets
since the Thunder's inaugural season in1994. "That's
section 15, row F. That's where you will find me," says
the mother of three, grandmother of five and great grandmother
baseball is her key focus during these steamy summer months,
Kusnirik says she is a fan of all sports. And once upon a
time, she was a key member of the athletics staff at Mercer
County Community College. "I was equipment manager, facilities
clerk, whatever you want to call it, I did it all - everything
that needed doing," she maintains. "I took care
of all the kids and all the sports, boys and girls."
According to Kusnirik, sometimes that included bus money and
lunch money, and even laundry. "That's the way we worked.
We made it like family," she recalls of her 20 years
at Mercer. Joining the staff at Trenton Junior College as
a cafeteria employee in 1963, her passion for sports drew
her to the fledgling Athletics Department, where she volunteered
for ten years.
was when the college's sports teams practiced and played all
around the city," she recalls, noting venues including
the Armory and the Lower Bucks YMCA. She spent her second
decade as a full-time member of the athletics staff at the
brand new West Windsor Campus until her retirement in 1983.
Al Leister, now a professor emeritus, was athletics director
and Howie Landa was the men's basketball coach. "Oh,
he was first class," Kusnirik says of Landa. "He
was respected by the players. He was known all over, everywhere
we went." She vividly recalls being part of the excitement
when Landa led the Vikings to four national tournaments and
two national titles (1973 and 1974).