PD Release: Dana Matsunuma

How Baseball and Copyright Became Teammates

Before I explain the significance of baseball and copyright, I would like to express my gratitude to the ELI for my Professional Development time.


The same week I sent in my PD application I had agreed to take on a major volunteer role within Richmond City Baseball Association (RCBA). For the last 6 years, I have volunteered in various roles within RCBA, from team manager to division coordinator.  I was asked in May last year to be the Chairperson for the Provincial Pee Wee Championship (my oldest son was a player on the team) to be held in Steveston mid-August.  This role would consume endless hours over 4 months and I debated whether or not it was a position I could handle. When I found out that I was awarded a PD leave (I chose to work p/t IEP and p/t PD leave), I felt assured that I would be able to fulfill my volunteer commitment as the end of August and September would bring meetings, budgetary reports, BC minor reports, etc. Near the end of September, my duties as Chairperson wrapped up and I was excited to continue with other aspects of my PD time.

Initially, I had created a timeline for the creative side of my ‘personal project’. In September and October, I worked on organizing files, sorting through files, finding files…and I revisited and reworked some projects that I had created for a writing class in general. One of the projects was a Poetry Unit. I completely redid my unit and wrote a new unit on narrative poetry and piloted it in my 500 Writing class with a finale of a Poetry Gallery where we invited ELI staff and a neighboring writing class. I also wrote a unit on descriptive writing with sample drafts and piloted that in my writing class.

Around the middle of October, the president of RCBA contacted me to let me know I had been nominated for a director’s position on the board. In a nutshell, my volunteer duties resumed and this time, my role expanded. Even though baseball was in its off-season, behind the scenes, we were working as hard as if we were on the field and I was grateful that, with my PD time, I was able to balance work and my volunteer duties.

In the meantime, I had registered for a creative writing course to begin at the end of October; a week before it was to begin, the course was cancelled.  Even though I was disappointed, I was not defeated—I had a feeling something else was meant to happen…

A few days later, at one of the board meetings in mid-October, the RCBA president presented me with a gift of thanks for being the chairperson in the summer and one of the gifts was the sign, “It’s All About Baseball”…when I read it, I knew what I had to do…

The next day, I drafted a letter to all of the RCBA board members, requesting they complete a piece of writing for me, one which I could develop into lessons for my international students. I had decided that I needed to develop my own materials so I would not have to worry about the copyright law…I would have my own © at the bottom of the page!

If the board members agreed, I would need their written permission for me to copy and use their writing in class. I waited nervously…would anyone actually be willing to write an essay or a short story just as a favor?  Then, slowly, one-by-one, the pieces of writing arrived.  In the end I received 6 submissions, some on multiple topics, and with those, I spent November and December creating, drafting, piloting and reworking writing class lessons based on my friends’ writings. Again, my 500 Writing class expressed interest at piloting one of my lessons and the result was amazing. Two of my students gave me permission to show their writing to my friends…the authors who had inspired them to write on the topic of ‘volunteering’. The sharing of writing was a fulfilling result that I had not expected as my friends were just as excited as my students.

In the end, I created over 50 pages of material. I realize that my PD finished in December but I feel that I am just getting started. I am still collecting submissions and I will continue developing them into authentic writing materials that are permissible to use in class (although I am still in the piloting stage).

I would like to thank Laurie Douglas who listened to my poetry ideas, Barb Taylor for visiting my class with her writing students, Francis Siu who always had an ear for my ideas and great advice and Susan Curtis who not only helped me with the copyright side but who also read over my lesson drafts. I had an amazing writing class who were eager and motivated and I appreciate their willingness to pilot a couple of lessons.  Again, thank you to the ELI for giving me the opportunity to pursue my creativity even if grew from the unlikely paths of where baseball and copyright met.

One response to “PD Release: Dana Matsunuma”

  1. Joyce

    Great work, Dana! you are inspiring!! It is so good to hear that your PD time was both personally and professionally fufilling; it sounds like you accomplished a lot and produced materials you can use in the future. I am sure your sons look up to you as a rolemodel for all of your volunteering work, and I bet the RCBA feels lucky to have had you do a great job for them.

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