Weiss employees joined the excitement at the Chicago Red Stars game this past Saturday, cheering on the women’s professional soccer team as they played against the Philadelphia Independence. The game started at 6 p.m., but Weiss employees, their friends and families started arriving at 4 p.m. for tailgating.
Dr. Monica Finocchiaro, director of the rehabilitation unit at Weiss, and her husband came out, along with their 11-year-old daughter and her friend. The girls play for the Lyons Township Soccer Club and had a game earlier that day. They spent the tailgate getting their faces painted and making Red Stars signs.
“This is their first women’s pro soccer game,” Dr. Finocchiaro said. “And they’re liking it. It hits a lot closer to home for them.”
Frank Molinaro, Weiss chief executive officer, started the game with the first kick. “I don’t play soccer, so it was pretty cool,” he said. After the kick, Molinaro joined his wife and two of his daughters in the stands.
Yaro Dachniwsky, director of sports business development at Weiss, sat a few rows over from Molinaro with his wife, Marie. Laughing, he said he would be enjoying the game more, “but we’re losing.”
Dachniwsky used to play goalkeeper for the Chicago Sting before U.S. team handball coaches recruited him for the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. He then went on to work for the Chicago Fire soccer team, and now at Weiss he develops partnerships with professional athletic teams, including this year’s partnerships with the Red Stars, Chicago Sky women’s professional basketball, and the Joffrey Ballet.
“It’s great to see how many Weiss people came out. It’s so good to see people outside of the hustle and bustle of the work environment,” he said.
Up on the deck, Heather Carr, administrative assistant for facilities, watched her 3-year-old son Vincent run circles around other children. “This was awesome,” Carr said, “A great event.”
The game was Vincent’s first sporting event, fitting considering his title as “Weiss baby.” Vincent was born in the Weiss labor and delivery unit just before it closed.
Molinaro said he was happy to see so many people from Weiss enjoying the game with their husbands, wives and children. “A lot of us don’t get to spend enough time with our families,” he said.
As Carr intercepted Vincent on one of his runs past, she scooped him up in her arms, held him close and asked him which team he wanted to win—the blue (Red Stars) or yellow.
“Yellow!” Vincent cheered.
Carr shook her head. “It’s his favorite color.” But Vincent got his preferred victory in the end—the Independence won, 1-0.