Catching up with...Mike Polsinelli

Publication Date

His is the smiling face that greets you when you walk through the doors of the Breazzano Fitness Center. Mike Polsinelli became a member of the Union College Department of Athletics in 2003. He joined Union as a facility supervisor and currently serves as the director of wellness and the assistant director of intramurals for the Department of Athletics. He eschews podcasts but can’t go a day without his ESPN app. Sports, in one form or another, has been his passion and a big part of his life since high school.

A native of Glenville, N.Y. Mike is a 1997 graduate of Niskayuna High. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration with a concentration in marketing from American International College in Springfield, Mass., in 2002 and later received a master’s degree in Human Resource Development from AIC. He served as manager of the Men’s Basketball team during his time with the Yellow Jackets and was a Dean’s List student. Mike is a people person. Whether it’s chatting with students, faculty or staff, chilling with old episodes of “Friends” or cheering his favorite teams, he loves the comradery of a close-knit community.

Mike Polsinelli with his dog Rosie.

FIRST APP YOU LOOK AT IN THE MORNING: ESPN. I love my sports! I have to catch up on all the sports news every morning, especially the Yankees, Giants, Knicks and Rangers.

ONE BOOK YOU HAVE READ MULTIPLE TIMES: I didn’t read it multiple times, but “Comeback” by Dave Dravecky is my favorite book. He was a Major League Baseball pitcher who had cancer surgery on his pitching arm. In spite of this, he was able to return to the mound and won his first game back. Unfortunately, he broke his arm multiple times, which ended his career. He met all his disappointments with determination and faith. I find the book inspiring and motivating.

BEST ADVICE YOU EVER RECEIVED: When I started high school, I told a teacher that my passion was sports and that I wished I could play. He explained that sports teams have team managers and told me what their role is. This sounded perfect, and I started right away. Being a team manager is how I was able to be involved in sports in high school and college. This teacher also told me that even if I have to modify how I do certain things, I should always find a way to do the things I want to do and not just say, “Oh, I wish I could do that.”

FAVORITE SPOT ON CAMPUS: Union is such a beautiful campus, and I love being at all of our sports venues, but my favorite spot on campus has to be Alumni Gym. Every morning when I get to my desk, I know it’s going to be a busy day, and I’ll get to interact with people from all over campus. Another favorite spot is in front of the Nott Memorial, sitting and watching fireworks displays.

GO-TO BREAKFAST: During the week, it is a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios and Orange Juice. Weekends, I like to treat myself to some waffles.

NETFLIX OR AMAZON: Netflix. I always love a “Friends” episode. I'm disappointed that it recently left Netflix. I still try to catch an episode on TV in between live sports.

FAVORITE PODCAST: Shockingly, I haven’t gotten into podcasts. I've heard, however, there are a lot of great sports podcasts to check out. To stay on top of my favorite New York teams, I read the New York Post daily.

ONE SKILL YOU WISH YOU HAD: Besides the obvious one of having more mobility, cooking would be the skill I wish I had. I know some of the basics, such as cooking on the grill, but haven’t taken the time to learn how to prepare more complete meals.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR PANDEMIC DIVERSION/ACCOMPLISHMENT: Exercising. I am supposed to go for a walk every day, but I am not always great about doing it. When the pandemic started, a friend and I were both looking for a reason to get out of the house every day. We started by just going a few houses down the street, and after a few months, I was able to get half way down the street. I’m looking forward to doing that again this spring.

BEST PART OF YOUR DAY: When I get home in the afternoon, my Golden Retriever, Rosie, is waiting for me to take her for a walk. She is 12 years old, but still enjoys being outside. We both get to catch up with everybody in the neighborhood.

LITTLE KNOWN FACT ABOUT YOU: When I was growing up, I competed in the New York State Games for the Physically Challenged and won many wheelchair races. I competed locally in Amsterdam and traveled to Hofstra University on Long Island. I met people from all over the state with various disabilities. I have many good memories of my family, friends and classmates coming to support me when I competed in Amsterdam.