Anthony “Verge” Cannon Founder, Unified Urban Men's Softball League

The skeptics said it couldn’t be done — that there was no way that men from different sections of the city would come together to play softball without somebody starting a fight. Verge did it. “I won four cases out of that,” he laughs. “Everyone told me I couldn’t.” They’re still going strong, 15 years later. Softball Sundays come to Cadwalader Park from May 22 through the fall, bringing together leagues from all over Trenton. The guys that would fight it out in the streets now duke it out fair and square on the field.

A former star high school athlete, Verge knows both the challenges and internal tensions of his city, and the way sports can bridge them. The league has 10 teams, 4 teams on standby, 250 players. Close to 500 people show up to play, support and have a Sunday — every Sunday — of unity, competition and a darn good time. The main league is for men 35+, but a women’s league has also started, and a juniors league. “We show the kids coming up that competing on the field is an awesome way to blow off steam and still respect one another,” he says. “It’s really powerful, for them to see people who used to fight come together like that.”

Photographed by Alfredo Marin, Jr. in downtown Trenton.

Connect with the Unified Urban Men’s Softball League on Facebook.

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