2017 MHC DFTP Opening Day 5/7/17 - Page 15

The excitement was building in the children's hearts as we turned onto Green Bay Road. Memories of years past were flooding their minds and were bouncing off their tongues as they spoke about 100 miles a second. The van was filled with anxious anticipation, for not only the approaching games of the day, but also for the Opening Day rituals and traditions. There was expectation that this day, Sunday the 7th of May, would be a day of epic proportions, to say the least. And with the sun shining brightly on the field glaring over people's faces and gear, our first steps were met by soggy earth...we were home.

The sun seemed to welcome everyone as they entered Brown Deer Park for the 22nd Opening Day of the Milwaukee Hurling Club. As we exited our family van, we were welcomed by a cool breeze. Everyone grabbed their sweatshirts and put on their determination that nothing would get in their way of enjoying this day. The first adult game was well under way and volunteers filled the unused parts of the field setting up goals and gathering equipment for the youth games which were to start at 9:30am.

The MIlwaukee Hurling Club relies on volunteers working together. The expectation and hope is to have smooth running events. Our family is very grateful to all of the people who work so hard on Opening Day. The youth games were a huge success. Children were filled with encouragement and inspiring mentoring from their coaches as they gathered together and shared a snack after their games. It was brought to everyone's attention that more volunteers were needed to break down the youth equipment . Those who could help sprung into action.

Tradition. Pride. Family. There are many words to describe the MHC. When the youth games were cleaned up, all of the teams, adult and youth alike, were instructed to gather on one end of the field. It was time for the annual Opening Day Parade and club picture. The teams entered the field to the sound of Irish bagpipes coming from speakers set up at midfield. Once each team had finished making their way onto the field, Jason “Coach Redbeard” Kirkpatrick took to the mic welcoming everyone. Jason then spoke about the new changes to the club for this season and encouraged everyone to reach out and continue to make recruiting a priority.

Next to the mic was Dave Olson, MHC’s Administrative Coordinator. Dave addressed inquiries about equipment and explained the when, where, and why logistics of the equipment ordering. He then expressed his pride in the hard work that all of the traveling teams had put forth and their "need for speed" exhibited during their away games. Olson was especially proud of the success of the Camogie group, sharing with us that it was the best match at NACB’s for the women in the MHC. Dave also spoke about recruiting and its importance, especially for the youth program. He also spoke about areas of need for volunteers, including a creative team.