9/9/11 9:00 AM
With professional lacrosse coming to central Ohio, fans from all over the Midwest are showing their love for the sport of lacrosse and stepping up to support their new pro team, including Bob McClain and his son Braeden from Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania. The McClains became the first members of the Ohio Machine season ticket holder family when they reserved their 2012 season tickets within minutes of them becoming available. And Bob and Braeden couldn’t be more excited for the Machine to take the field during its inaugural season next summer.
“We will be watching the best lacrosse players in the world and watching them play at the highest level possible for lacrosse,” said Bob. “It’s one thing to watch club and collegiate lacrosse but watching a pro team is a whole different level. You learn to appreciate the art of playing at the pro level after watching the youth level for so long.”
Bob, who grew up in Wintersville, OH and went to The Ohio State University, didn’t grow up with lacrosse as a sport. “Lacrosse wasn’t around in school when I was young but now it’s the fastest growing interscholastic sport in the nation. Over the past 25 years I’ve seen it grow, especially in Central Ohio and now my son plays it.”
Braeden first picked up a lacrosse stick in the 5th grade and hasn’t looked back since that day. “The sport is so unique – you can make it all your own. You can’t really do that in football like you can in lacrosse,” said Braeden. “Each player has their own style of playing and is known for it. It’s a lifestyle – not just a hobby or a game. The culture behind it is pretty awesome.” He is now entering his fifth year of playing and currently plays for Seneca Valley in Pennsylvania where he is coached by a Major League Lacrosse All-Star Peet Poillon of the Denver Outlaws.
Braeden sees the Machine as a learning tool not only for himself but for his fellow lacrosse junkies in the Midwest.
“Having a pro team close gives the sport huge exposure and something for the younger kids to look up to and identify with. It gives them goals to work towards when they can watch it live right in front of them,” said Braeden.
And even though Braeden’s dad Bob never played the sport when he was in high school, he is still a huge fan and enjoys watching it at every level. “The reason why I love lacrosse is because of the speed of the game and constant contact, the aggressiveness of the sport. You don’t get that in soccer or baseball. It is a multiple scoring sport with action always going on. Keeps you engaged from start to finish.”
When talking about next season and getting ready to watch the world-class players take the field, both Bob and Braeden have advice for Head Coach Ted Garber on the type of players to bring in. They both like to see players that are hardworking and who can bring energy to the team. “We need veteran players with a good work ethic but new players that can bring the hype and good energy to the field,” said Braeden.
But to Bob it’s not all about what is seen on the field but also what is seen off the field. He wants to make sure it’s not a one-way street of support and that community involvement is in the Machine’s future. “The key point in building a strong, loyal fan base in this region is to have accessibility to the players and coaches whether that is through working with charities or hosting clinics and camps around the area. The organization must support the community and in return the community will be there to support them.”
Fortunately for Bob and Braeden, the Machine has big plans to become a fixture in the lacrosse community. The Machine players, coaches and front office staff will be heavily involved throughout the year through various events, including player and coach clinics, tournaments and player appearances for local teams. And maybe there will even be a future trip to Pennsylvania to visit the McClains and the rest of Seneca Valley lacrosse!
To join the Ohio Machine season ticket holder family with Bob and Braeden, contact the Machine at (614) 754-1973 or by visiting www.theohiomachine.com/tickets. Season ticket deposits are available now for only $20.12 with season ticket packages being announced at a later date. Most of the 2012 inaugural season tickets will be priced at $100 for all seven home games.