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Colorado Crush field sees new life with youth teams

6:21 PM, Nov 27, 2012   |    comments
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"It was just cool," say players on his 3rd and 6th grade teams. "It was pretty crazy. It was the Colorado Crush football team field."

The actual turf from the actual Colorado Crush?

"From the Pepsi Center"

The home field for the entire existence of the Crush, who won the Arena Bowl Championship in 2005, is now in the back yard of the Creek Red Nation head coach.

"The field actually sat, rolled up, for about a year and a half, didn't have a place for it, just had it stored, and then we ended up purchasing the house, grading the land, and doing both the turf and the grass field here," says Marchiol, who played college football at Mesa State College. "We feel so blessed that we were able to have this house that allowed us to build this field here, both the turf and the grass field, and it just worked out."

The Crush played at the Pepsi Center in Denver from 2003 until 2010, winning the leagues championship in 2005 under the direction of team owner John Elway. His time in the Arena Football League is where many believe Elway learned the finer points of running a team; skills he is now using the guide the Denver Broncos to a second straight Divisional title.

So much history for a group that might not even remember the team that last called the field home.

"I'm not sure many of these kids were alive when the field was down at the arena, but the field has a lot of tradition"

The kids might not remember, but one of their coaches sure does. Bob Cortese coached high school and college football in Colorado for around 30 years, including at Mesa State College, where he met Marchiol, and eventually made the move to coaching Arena Football.

 "I was coaching the Grand Rapids Rampage," Cortese remembers, "and we came, flew down here in Arena Football to play the Crush. And after the game, the Crush crushed us, and after the game, our owners decided to make a change, so that, they fired me the next day."

Cortese can laugh as he tells the story now, but the only time he was ever fired as a head coach is still a little of a sore spot.

"Don't tell me about that turf. I don't have fond memories about that turf."

But the big question is: does all of this actually make them a better team?

"We're 11-0. In the Carnation Bowl. Or 14-0," says Ken's son Nico, who plays on the 3rd grade team that finished the season with a perfect record. His oldest son plays on the 8th grade team that won the NYFC Youth National Championship in Las Vegas, the same city where the Colorado Crush won their title.

But for the coaches, the importance of the game goes far beyond the final scores.

"I think it's so important that we have a chance to be with these kids and not just teach them football, but teach them life lessons," Marchiol explains, "and that's what we talk about at Creek Red Nation is have life lessons."

It's not just talk, either. At every practice, the coaches gather up the team and, one by one, the players say one good thing they did for another person that day.

"There's no bigger (lesson) than for them to share with each other things that they do nice for other people, because one of them will, the other one will do the same thing the next day, so when they're in that environment where they can share nice things that they're doing, it just breeds more nice things by other people."

(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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