Michael with rookie forward Corbyn Tao.
Michael became a season ticket holder half-way through the 2009 season. Well-known to Swarm fans as one of the “fro bros,” Michael, along with his brother, wears a fro to all of the games.
Baltes: How did you get into watching lacrosse?
Michael: My older brother was a season ticket holder, and I used to tease him. Then he brought me to a game. It was a lot more exciting than I thought that it would be.
Baltes: You and your brother are well-known for wearing fros to the games. How did that start and why?
Michael: They had a theme night called ‘70s Night, so we wore afros with corduroy suits and everything. I guess we had a good response to it and we wanted to do something for the home opener the next season. We only planned to do it for the home opener, but we liked it and we decided to keep doing it.
Baltes: What is your game prep like? I noticed that you even have pink ones!?
Michael: For some of them I went to the stores and looked for some different ones. For the Hive Cares Night I found pink, since our grandparents died of cancer. While I was there, I saw a green one and got that for Shamrock Day. Otherwise we usually just have our regular color, which is pretty close to our natural hair color.
Baltes: Do you ever wear them outside of Swarm games?
Michael: We wear them to the Swarm post-game parties, but that’s about it.
Baltes: Do you have a favorite season ticket holder event?
Michael: The Holiday Bowl is my favorite one. It’s nice to have the chance to catch up with the people who you don’t see during the offseason.
Dave and Heather's passion for Swarm lacrosse has even taken them on the road to Buffalo.
Dave and Heather experienced their first Swarm game in January of 2005 after receiving free tickets from work. They had a lot of fun and were immediately hooked. This is their sixth season as ticket holders.
Baltes: How did you get into lacrosse?
Heather: We got into lacrosse through the Swarm. Prior to going to a Swarm game, we hadn’t paid much attention to the sport.
Baltes: How would you describe a Swarm game to someone who has never experienced it before?
Heather: To a person from Minnesota, I usually describe it as similar to hockey with a few basketball rules thrown in, but much faster paced. It’s great entertainment value for your money. Xcel is a great venue, and the tickets are very inexpensive.
Baltes: You are the captains of the Minnesota Stingers and your team won the Fann Spirit Award last year. Can you talk a little bit about the league and how you got involved?
Heather holds the Spirit Award presented to the Minnesota Stingers at the Fann Cup.
Heather: Fann Cup is an adult lacrosse tournament played by fans of the NLL teams. Each summer, it is held in a different NLL city. Currently there are teams from Toronto, Rochester, Buffalo, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Minnesota. The host city chooses one or two local charities to support. The money for those charities is raised by player fees and donations. The tournament itself is for fun - it is not highly competitive. For more information please see www.fanncup.com or email email@example.com.
We initially heard about the league through the NLL Message Boards. The 2009 tournament was going to be held in Chicago, so we thought it would be a good time to get involved – it wasn’t a long drive for us, and would give us an opportunity to see what Fann Cup was all about. Most of our team had little or no lacrosse experience prior to training for Fann Cup. To this day, our team has not yet won a game at Fann Cup, but we were honored this past summer (2011) with the Fann Spirit Award, which goes to the team that embodies the spirit of the tournament, which started as a friendly challenge between fans from Rochester and Toronto. The Tournament is more of a family reunion where we get to meet fans from the other NLL cities and have fun playing the game we love while raising a little bit of money for local charities. The Stingers pride themselves on sportsmanship and are welcoming to anybody who would like a chance to play. We like to compete, but we don’t consider ourselves to be overly competitive.
Baltes: Do you have a favorite game theme?
Heather: Our two favorite theme nights are Native American Night and the Hive Cares. It’s awesome to thank the Native community for sharing their game with us, and we love watching the Founders game during halftime. The Hive Cares is a great promotion, raising awareness and money for cancer.
Baltes: What do you like about coming to Swarm events?
Heather: We really appreciate the chance to get to meet the players and get to know them. It means a lot to us to know that the guys appreciate our support. Getting to know the players on a personal level makes the games more exciting and emotional – it’s like cheering for your family members.