Officially, Pat and Santo Mirasola have three children. But if you listen to their experiences working events for the Brookfield East Athletic Department, it seems like they have hundreds more.
Santo and Pat are a husband-and-wife team who has worked home events for the Spartans for the past eight and seven years, respectively.
If you have attended East events in that time, Pat sold you a ticket. You probably saw Santo working crowd control, making sure the students don't get too carried away.
Both Mirasolas are retired, Santo from his dental business and Pat from her position as a special education aide in the Elmbrook School System. This gives them a chance to get out of the house and do something together.
"I really enjoy being with the kids," said Santo, who has been a playground supervisor at Burleigh Elementary since he retired 13 years ago. "We've been involved with sports for a long time. All our kids were involved in sports at Brookfield East."
Santo has the opportunity to follow students from Burleigh Elementary through graduation. Pat not only gets close to the students during their four years at East, but she also gets to know their parents as well.
"One of nice things is - besides being with the kids and cheering them on - I really bond with their parents while they are here," she said. "They thank me for being a friendly face. Parents will talk to me about things you can't believe. It makes me feel good."
The parents go out of their way to make the Mirasolas feel like part of their family, inviting them to team dinners after games, attending the team banquet, even going to graduation.
"Those were our guys," Pat said of attending a recent graduation. "Me and my boys - we've gotten close to a lot of the kids. It's like losing some of our kids, going away to college. They always stopped to say hi."
The Mirasola's efforts are appreciated.
"I wouldn't be able to do sporting events without the help of Pat and Santo," Cheryl Waffenschmidt, administrative assistant to athletic director Corey Golla, said. "Everyone knows them. If they are not working an event because of a prior commitment, parents will ask where they are."
While Santo works in crowd control, Pat sells tickets for football, boys and girls soccer and boys and girls basketball. But for boys and girls volleyball, she becomes the official scorer. In the spring, they work the track meets, supplying the athletes with their hip numbers.
One of the difficult things for Pat in scoring volleyball is staying neutral.
"I can't clap. I have to be quiet," she said. "I'm a loud, outspoken person. It's hard to contain myself, especially when we get into the playoffs, because there is no tomorrow."
Pat also appreciates being recognized by the officials.
"After a volleyball match, the officials will come over and say 'Nice job.' Same thing after a track meet. We get to see the kids having fun. We're there with our spouse, and we get the respect of officials."
It doesn't get better than that.
Away from the Limelight features the unsung heroes of the local high school athletic scene. Have an idea? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
THE MIRASOLA FILE
MARRIED: 46 years
CHILDREN: Sarah, 45, accountant; Joe, 44, vice president of project management at M & I Bank; John, 39, Menomonee Falls water department; seven grandchildren.
HIGH SCHOOL: Pius XI (Pat), Milwaukee Washington (Santo)
COLLEGE: Marquette Dental School (Santo)
OCCUPATION: Dentist, Playground Supervisor at Burleigh Middle School (Santo), Elmbrook Special Education aide (Pat)
HOBBIES: Spending time with their grandchildren (both); playing guitar and reading about history (Santo), reading mysteries (Pat)
MOVIES: James Bond with Sean Connery (Pat), Anything with John Wayne (Santo)
TV SHOWS: Castle, The Mentalist (Pat); sports, Fox News (Santo)