To kick-off training camp, Ohio Machine players and dancers made appearances all around the Columbus area including The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Ronald McDonald House of Central Ohio and Midwest Lacrosse to give back to the community and visit their fans.
All Machine players and dancers said that they enjoyed participating in community events as a team because it shows the Machine has an appreciation for everything it’s been given over the past year.
Steele Stanwick and Jim Connolly visited Machine sponsor Midwest Lacrosse in Columbus to do a meet-and-greet with fans, take pictures and get them excited for the upcoming season. The children were delighted to finally see Stanwick back in Columbus and to ask Connolly questions about the team’s second season.
The Wexner Medical patients were also more than excited to have fresh faces as visitors and learn about the Machine and lacrosse. The players demonstrated and taught the rules and dynamics of lacrosse to the patients and the dancers even put on a show for one of the patients they visited. In addition to talking about lacrosse and the Machine, the players really interacted with the patients and asked about their lives, hobbies and loved ones.
“It’s important for the Machine to do outreaches like this because it’s important to give back to the community,” said Ray Megill, Machine defender. “It shows that we care and we support where we play and the people we play for.”
One of the more rewarding visits was to a patient in isolation that insisted on meeting the Machine players. The players had to wear scrubs to visit the patient in isolative care, and made sure the patient’s visit was unforgettable.
“As a team, we have to build a reputation in the community and doing outreach is a way to gain that positive exposure,” said Marshall Burkhart, Machine midfielder. “We are committed to bringing the fan base together whether they come out to a game, or we bring the game to them.”
Some of the players also visited the Ronald McDonald House of Central Ohio to help clean, paint and make Girl Scout Cookie packages for hospital patients. The Ronald McDonald House has 80 rooms that serve as a home-away-from-home for families of children who are seriously ill. They assist in aiding the families by allowing them to stay close to their ill children, so parents and siblings never have to leave their loved ones’ sides during such a scary time.
"It was nice to spend some time with my teammates paying some dues cleaning floors and scraping paint off the ground," said Connor Martin, Machine midfielder. "We are so lucky to be able to play and be a part of the MLL and it's always important to be reminded how good life is."
“The smiles are the best part about doing community service projects like this,” said Anthony Toresco, Machine face-off specialist. “If we are fortunate enough to play as a team, then we can get together as a team and make others feel as fortunate as we do.”