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A Miami Moment with ... Roberta Zapfe

03/21/2013

Roberta Zapfe's students presenting her with flowers.
Roberta Zapfe's students presenting her with flowers.
For Roberta (aka: Bertie and Mom) Zapfe senior night at a Miami RedHawk men's ice hockey game became her night. During the game, several students to whom she refers as her “Zamboni seniors” presented her with roses and lots of hugs. Zapfe, a building and grounds assistant at the Marcum Hotel & Conference Center, is in her fifth year working as an usher for many of Miami's sporting events.

Q: Who are the Zamboni seniors?

A: They are students who, for the last four years, watched the hockey games in the area where the Zamboni is located at the Goggin Ice Center. That is the area I am responsible for as an usher. I’ve gotten to know those students, now seniors. Matt and Will Messer, twins, are part of the group who presented me with roses that night. It was the last CCHA regular season game. For me it was humbling knowing that I was someone that they thought of during that special evening.

Will Messer, one of Zapfe's Zamboni seniors, hugging her.
Will Messer, one of Zapfe's Zamboni seniors, hugging her.


Q: That must have been a highlight of your years ushering?

A: Yes, I have had many special moments here at Miami. I love the games. I’ve ushered football, basketball and hockey. I love the atmosphere, especially hockey. It’s intimate, so friendly and very exciting. My main job is to watch for flying pucks. I once helped a young girl who was hit by a flying puck. She was OK and back the next evening to watch another game. I remember the Miami student who ripped his shirt off so I had something to use as a compress. I had no idea who he was. That’s the type of students we have. I like that I’m known as “Mom.”

Q: Did the Zamboni students call you Mom?

A: That started at Marcum where I am known as Mom. The teams stay during holidays. I really get to know them well. I know their stats and follow their seasons. I even go to games when I am not ushering. I guess I am the ultimate “soccer mom.”

Q: Did you play sports as well?

A: Yes, I played basketball, and I was the quarterback for our powder puff team, but I really loved cheering for my three sons through all of their days playing numerous sports. Now I have five grandsons and one granddaughter and all participating in some kind of sport.

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