May 19, 2017

Melanie Childers thumb.jpg(May 19, 2017)... Melanie Childers loves watching the action of professional indoor lacrosse from her front-row seats at Connors & Ferris Field at The Blue Cross Arena. The longtime season ticket holder has cheered for her favorite team, the Rochester Knighthawks, ever since she first walked into the downtown rink for a game back in 1999.

Along with her husband, Jason, the Childers are definitely among the most loyal and devoted fans. On game nights, Melanie is often dressed in her Pat O’Toole jersey, while Jason sports a Pat Cougevan throwback.

Away from the turf, the couple annually walks in the St. Patrick’s Day parade with the fan club, the Knighthawks Krew, and makes occasional trips to road games.

In this edition of Fan Friday, we get to learn a little more about Melanie and her passion for the Knighthawks.

What first brought you to a Knighthawks game?
There was a group of us who all went together to one game in 1999, and one game in 2000. I don't even know whose idea it was. We enjoyed it so much that we bought front-row season tickets the following year. I still have my ticket stub from the game in 2000. It was against the Philadelphia Wings.

How long have you been a season ticket holder? 
Based on the answer to the previous question, I guess it's been 17 years. And 16 years as a member of the Knighthawks Krew.

What is your favorite part of the game(s)? 
There are so many things I love about going to games. I guess at the top of the list is the fast pace and excitement of a good, close, physical game. Especially when it ends in an important win.

Why is Pat O'Toole your favorite player? 
I'm honestly not sure how it started. Some of it comes from hanging out with Pat and the rest of the players at postgame parties for all those years, and just getting to know him. It probably also has a lot to do with the goaltender's role on the floor. Maybe it also goes back to my teenage years when I was a soccer goalie and a catcher in softball. The whole “keep the ball in front of you” mentality.

Do you have any interesting rituals? Any good luck routines?
Oh, boy. Not as much this year and last year, but for many years, yes. Absolutely, yes. ALL the diehard fans have them. For me it's mostly about what I wear: pants, shirts, jerseys, and even down to socks and shoes. There are certain things I refuse to wear to home games because every time I do the Knighthawks lose. So those items are for away games only. 2007 is a great example. That year I had two shirts that were only for home games, and two others that were only for road games. I wore the same jersey to every home game. I wore the same pair of jeans to every game the team won. And I mean EVERY game. Even the championship game. In Arizona. In 106-degree heat. I wore JEANS because of my superstitions.

Favorite memory as a fan: 
I have so many wonderful memories from the past 17 years that it's VERY difficult to choose just one favorite. The big ones are, of course, the four championship wins I've been around for: 2007 in Arizona, and the three-peat from 2012 to 2014. 2012 and 2014 were extra special, I think, because they were both won at home.

Additional information you would like us to know: 
One of the things I love the most about the Knighthawks and the NLL is the accessibility of the players. I love that the players aren't high and mighty like many pro athletes are in the “big 4” leagues (MLB, NFL, NHL, and NBA) They're regular everyday guys who happen to also be the best in the world at their chosen sport. They're all approachable. They actually enjoy interacting with the fans, adults and kids alike. And it doesn't matter which team they play for. Once a Knighthawk, always a Knighthawk. No matter if they get traded or sign with another team. They're always ready to say hello, and give a nod and a wave to the fans they remember from their days here.

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