It’s all for the kids, Colby Hornets give back to children’s hospital patients

Published: Oct. 8, 2021 at 6:32 PM CDT
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COLBY, Wis. (WSAW) - After the first quarter of a Colby Hornet’s home football game, whether you are a fan or a player, you may be asked to do something. Colby sports announcer and founder of the fan page, The Hornet’s Nest, Matthew Oehmichen has started a tradition of having the crowd and players wave to a camera up in the announcer’s box.

It does not happen every game, but when it is live-streamed with some other behind-the-scenes coordination, Oehmichen will ask something like this: “Attention! Right now there are some awesome kids at the Marshfield Children’s Hospital that would love to be at our game...”

He has the entire crowd and all of the players turn to wave and cheer for little fans watching from Marshfield Children’s Hospital.

“These athletes became instant heroes, superheroes for these young kids,” he said.

Twice, Oehmichen has coordinated with the hospital. Coach Jim Hagen was on board the idea, thinking it paired well with the values they try to teach that make football bigger than a game.

“There’s a poem called ‘Little eyes are watching you,’ they hear everything that you say. You know, they want to grow up to be just like you,” Hagen began. “I know you’re not college athletes yet or you’re not in the NFL, but boy, for a fourth- and a fifth-grader when they see a senior or a junior and they’re walking down the hall, they look up to you and you’re their role models.”

The Hornet Wave is just the start. Oehmichen also has purchased 30 balls each time they have given the honor for all of the players to sign that ultimately go to patients at the hospital. Their first time giving the footballs in 2019, players were not able to get into the hospital to meet with kids due to an early flu season. Last year, they were unable to do a lot of things due to COVID-19. This year, they still cannot get in the hospital, but they made sure to cheer kids on and get them some signed balls.

Their efforts even got a shout-out from Manitowoc Minute’s Charlie Berens.

Oehmichen and Hagen hope the gesture inspires players from all teams to continue giving back to their community long after they leaving the field. Players already are bouncing around more ideas to grow that community spirit and giving.

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