Driving a Formula One car, being on the plate of a steam engine, jumping into a fire engine or setting off into space in a rocket: A lot of lads dream of such things. But not Michael Schade.
The 65-year-old grew up at a sports ground in Solingen. As his father, Herbert, a successful athlete in the 1950s, went on to work for the council, the Schade family moved into service accommodation at the Schanerg sports ground that now nears the name of Schade senior. His son Michael admitted to playing in the two biggest 'sandboxes' in Solingen – the long and high jump pits – and he was fascinated by agricultural machinery used to look after the facilities. "There was no tartan track back then. The track was made of cinder. And the base was worked on with a roller. I was able to drive it when I was a child. That was the bees' knees for me, " recalled Michael Schade.
Those thoughts must have often crossed his mind when he looked out of the window at work. His office had a majestic view of the BayArena pitch. He was regularly able to observe how the head groundsman Georg Schmitz and his team manicured the 2017/18 Pitch of the Year. "I'd like to sit on a ride-on mower like that." As soon as Schade expressed his desire, his office manager pricked up her ears. She had a word with the groundsman who turned up at the CEO's office this week. "Now it's time to cut the grass," came the call from Georg Schmitz, which Michael Schade was happy to follow. He climbed onto a front mower and rode over the number one training pitch. "It felt great," said Schade who was not completely happy with the results. "I'd like to put it this way: The outcome was a rather creative pattern."
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