Step into Lifeworks Services at any time of the year and you are bound to see two things no matter where you go, forest green and iron range red, the colors of the Minnesota Wild. On season or off enthusiasm and team pride runs high. You won’t see the blue of the New York Rangers or the wheel of the Detroit Red Wings. There is no blather or lighted hearted back-and-forth as you might get when discussing the Packers and the Vikings. Oh, no. At Lifeworks, there is Wild solidarity, a firm and stalwart loyalty that is unshakable. I dare you to come into any of our 8 Lifeworks program locations and talk some trash about the Wild. Actually, don’t do that, I would not wish the repercussions on anyone.
In November, Lifeworks was chosen as the non-profit for the Wild’s charity of the month program. The Minnesota Wild recognizes a different local charity each month during the regular season. The charity of the month program provides awareness and exposure for the chosen non-profit over the course of one month. Lifeworks will be featured on Wild.com and at the November 5, 2010 Wild home game by displaying photos on the video board and in-arena public address announcements. Given all the Wild love at lifeworks, this is going to be a perfect fit.
To kick things off, the Wild offered one lucky person that we support at Lifeworks excellent tickets to the season opener. These tickets were practically on the ice! Out of the hordes of Wild fanatics at Lifeworks one person stood out. Chris Williams. Wild fan numero uno.
Chris was able to take one lucky staff with him, and I the blog writer, was humbly allowed to accompany Chris. Chris and I had worked together in the past, and we had always talked about going to a Wild game together. As Wild fan #1 he had obviously went before, but I had never been. I am an Out Of Town kind of guy, so I was new to this whole Wild fanaticism thing. Chris had to teach me a thing or two.
I picked up Chris from his house. His room, of course, has Wild posters everywhere, and giant stickers of legendary wild players brandishing the walls. While we headed out to the game, I asked him what was expected of me at the game. Chris explained,
“You need to yell, you need to act wild, and you need to swear.”
Hmmm… I thought I could maybe handle that. “Oh. And we eat Kielbasa.” Sausages. Now we are talking. Chris told me he has seen nearly every game since the Wild began 10 years ago. Pretty much only funerals and sickness took him away.
When we arrived at the Xcel, Chris was already pretty pumped up. He started to recognize fellow fans as well. Through the course of the night Chris, Wild fan #1, saw many acquaintances bound by Wild love. One old co-worker ran up to Chris and embraced him. Of course, this was a manly embrace filled with Wild hockey passion. We took our seats, and were immediately blown away. We were so close! Chris said that he had never sat so close before. The look of elation was all over his face. Before we could savor our good fortune, the game began…
Needless to say, and epic battle ensued. Ice spray flew, the clack of stick and puck filled the air, goals were scored, the penalty box was filled and emptied. It was a whirlwind. In the end, the Wild beat the Oilers 4-2. We did have Kielbasa (the size of my forearm). We met some fans. Brad, our neighbor, at one point said he eyes of a cougar, and offered to fly Chris around in his plane. We yelled, and screamed, and yes, we swore. In the end, we left a little more Wild than when we entered.
For Chris, it was a memorable night that would have never happened if the Wild had not chosen Lifeworks for the charity of the month program. When I see Chris in the halls, he always asks me when he can go again. Sometimes he just points at his shirt, which is of course, a Wild jersey. What is so cool, is that he does get to go again, thanks to the Wild. Chris along with 49 others from Lifeworks all received tickets courtesy of the charity of the month program to the November 5 game. Chris will be there, once again, leading the pack. Wild fan #1.