4Ever Wild: Anita Ratwik
Original Season Ticket Members' knowledge, love for game grow with each passing season.by Minnesota Wild @mnwildsth
Anita Ratwik had no idea what an offensive zone was, let alone a faceoff or blue line.
"I didn't even know she had any interest in any professional sports," her husband Paul said. "We would hear the terminology on the radio, and she would ask questions like, 'where is the point?'"
But as a surprise to Paul, and her entire family, Anita committed to two season tickets in Section 119 midway through the inaugural 2000-01 Minnesota Wild season.
The first hockey term she learned?
"Sieve," she said with a chuckle. "And now I can understand a lot more of the game. I mean, I always knew which end of the ice you want them to be on, but now I can understand a lot more -- not that it changed much for me; the game has always been fun to come to."
Ratwik said not only has her knowledge for game grown since purchasing her family season tickets, but the enjoyment and passion for the game has ballooned, too.
For the Ratwiks, hockey had always subtly been in the background. Anita's father played and was a goaltender at the University of Minnesota. She herself had skated off and on, and Paul was an avid fan of the Golden Gophers. The couple's son-in-law was also a former player.
But just like the jolt of life the Wild gave the entire State of Hockey, there was something about it that awakened the fan in both Anita and Paul.
"I really can't even put a finger on it," Anita explained. "Just watching and following - I'm not sure why it's so much fun, it just really is."
Paul points to the off-ice engagement promoted by the team that that makes it particularly enjoyable for the entire family. The Ratwiks have grown from the original five -- Paul and Anita and three children -- to include two spouses and four grandsons. At least once per season, all 11 of the family will attend a game together.
"It's the extras that our grandchildren love so much," said Paul. "They love the family skates (hosted for season ticket holders), and painting the ice (at the end of each season). It's great to see them get involved in the game and beyond it."
"It's so fun to get our entire family in on the action," added Anita. "We have one son who is in a wheelchair, and to see him able to see the game and interact as much as all of us is really special."
Now, nearly 20 years later, Anita may have the game down pat, but her hockey education isn't over; she's working on her Swedish dialect, as her favorite players on the team are the ones from Sweden. Defenseman Jonas Brodin is currently the frontrunner.
"We went to the fan event last year and (Brodin) was willing to be patient and talk Swedish with me," she said. "Just another thing that makes it so fun to be Season Ticket [Members].