The Milwaukee Wave - First place and first class for a fun group event!
The Milwaukee Wave, fresh off the heels of back to back wins this weekend are alone atop the Central division of the MISL. Much like the Packers they're the defending champions of the league and are the lone undefeated team left. Sunday the team faced it's first road test of the season taking on then first place Missouri Comets and coming out with a hard fought 11-6 victory. Saturday's game however was much easier for the home team Wave as they dominated the Norfolk Sharx 21-7. It was a game that despite the lopsided score was one of the most fun games I've attended because of how they Wave rolled out the red carpet for myself and the group I helped bring.
A few months back I contacted the Wave front offices representing our local rec department's soccer program. Our community of around 5,000 people about 45 minutes south of Milwaukee has a soccer program that includes about 275 kids on any given season. Upon calling the offices and asking if it would be possible to have a player appear at one of our practices I fully expected to be turned down but was thrilled when I was told it would be possible. For some soccer teams in the Milwaukee area (some of which are coached by the players in their 'free time') it may not have been as big of a deal as it was for us. In return, since we're not a charitable organization, they simply asked us to try to sell enough tickets to offset the cost of the appearance. I wasn't sure we'd be able to guarantee the amount of tickets they requested we sell and talked to them about our concern, but the offices didn't seem to be too worried about it and we planned the event anyway.
The event was a great thrill for everyone. The player that showed up was the MISL championship game MVP Marcel Feenstra and he had the kids hanging on his every word as he taught them a few ball control and juggling skills. With nearly 50 kids in attendance I was worried he'd be a bit overwhelmed but he did a fantastic job of keeping the kids both interested and on task. After about an hours worth of drills Marcel stuck around and signed autographs and took pictures with all of the kids as well as handed out some really cool Wave posters, pens and tattoos to all of the kids. It was a night that the kids talked about for weeks and weeks afterward.
So Saturday vs Norfolk was the night our group attended the game and the team once again did an amazing job of making sure we had a great time. As it turned out our group had over 70 people in attendance, much more than they asked us to try to get (and frankly more than I expected with it being opening day of gun season.) As part of the night's activities the Wave gave our kids the opportunity to take part in the human tunnel before the game. The kids got to play in a play area in the lower level until they were ready for us. Once they started lining us up the players came over and mingled with and talked to the kids before taking the field for warmups. Once on the field the kids were introduced and shown on the jumbo screen above the field. Many of the kids were given roses by the players or little soccer balls before the end of the pregame introductions.
Before the human tunnel one of the coaches in our rec league and myself were asked to participate in a pregame ball rolling contest on the field which was a lot of fun. Once back in our seats the Wave again treated us like royalty by having one of our group participate in the Trivia contest and a little later a couple of gentlemen from the front office came over and made sure we were having a good time. Fun doesn't begin to cover how great of a night we had. For 15 minutes after the game I had parents and kids coming up to me asking if we could do it again next year and if so could they invite more of their friends. Parents and kids alike had a great time and we owe it all to the Wave front offices, event staff and players.
Now I can't guarantee everyone else will have the same experience we had, but if you have a church group, soccer club, kid's birthday party or any other group looking for a fun and reasonably priced event give the Wave a call. You will definitely be entertained, and while you're there be sure to watch #26 Ian Bennett, one of their many exciting players. Shown here celebrating one of his goals, Ian (the front member of the rowing team) is an incredibly high energy weapon the Wave has in it's arsenal. Not only does he fire up the crowd he also fires up his teammates as shown in last year's pregame video where he's pumping up the boys for a big game. From the way he sprints onto the field for his rotations, to the hustle he shows on both offense and defense it's easy to admire his hard work and see why he has so much success. On top of that he's one of the nicest guys you'll meet, and I had the opportunity to do so at the airport last year after the team returned home from the championship game. Ian, like most of the players, took time to talk to everyone and he was one of the last players to leave. So come on out with your group and see Ian and the rest of the team continue their title defense.