I got a call at work on Monday, June 2nd and my wife surprised me with tickets to the Colorado Crush game that evening. The Crush are the Arena Football League team that calls Denver home, and is owned by Denver Bronco legend, John Elway. I am a big football fan, and an even bigger John Elway fan. Even so I had a bit of dilemma. I had been to one prior Crush game and enjoyed myself. So, I wanted to go again. The issue? We are in the process of painting the outside of our house. If you have ever done that, especially on an older home, you know how much work there is in scraping, filling, sanding, and general repairs. As I wanted to start the actual painting part this weekend, I wanted to get the majority of the work done before then.
The Jump Rope team.
But, free tickets? I was on vacation next week, so it wasn’t like I didn’t have a little room to play with. So we went!
We, consisted of just Margo and me. The Colorado Crush play their games at the PepsiCenter, which is also home of the Nuggets and Avalanche. The game started at . I couldn’t remember how long an arena game lasted, as I don’t watch many of them. But, I figured with the late start it was probably over in a couple of hours. We ate dinner in Brighton (home) at El Taco Loco (see my review under my Brighton, CO blog) and still got to the PepsiCenter with plenty of time to spare.
The Crush Girls show their best side
The first thing that impressed me was how friendly everyone was. The ticket taker (ticket scanner actually) was smiling and happy. Then right inside the gentlemen passing out the complimentary Crush newspaper/program greeted us by asking if we had gotten our program yet. He too was jovial and upbeat. He wished us a good time and we went over to the escalator. I have no idea if Mr Elway has an effective employee orientation program or an effective employee screening process, but which ever, it works. It actually shifted my brain out of “OK-WhatNext?-WhereDoIGo?-WhatDoIDo?-WhereIsTheRestRoom? Mode, into “Wow, Great People!” Of course that passed as I did have to pee, but it started the night out right.
Our seats were right on the goal line about 20 rows up. Not bad seats.
Face Value was $35 per ticket. They would be three times that for comparable seat at Invesco to see the Broncos, but I digress. For those unfamiliar with arena football there are only eight men per side, the field is 50 yards long, the sidelines are marked by a padded wall. It’s like playing football, in pads, full speed, in the gym at high school. There are also no punts. If there is a fourth down (and there are surprisingly few of them) a field goal is attempted. If it is wide or short the opposing team picks it up and runs, taking over possession. The opening kickoff is handled the same way. It almost always hits the netting that backs up and surrounds the back of the end zone. This makes for some very exciting football and high scores.
The game itself was fast paced, but even though there were TV timeouts (ESPN2) that should have dragged the game’s tempo down.
I'm ready to hike the ball, Hello!
The Crush management had plenty of activities to hold your attention. There was a Jump Rope Team, an Exteme Bicycle Team, the Kiss Cam, the Flex Cam, Crusher the Mascot, and of course the Crush Girls. The Crush Girls are the Cheerleaders/Dance Team for the Crush. They would make the end zone away from the play, their home. They would perform the routines and compete for the attention of the male portion of the crowd. I will confess to missing a play or two. Which, in Arena Football is not something you want to do. Drives usually go about 6 plays, and scores on the first play of the drive are common. When the Crush scored the Crush Girls would rush out and throw about a dozen Crush T-Shirts to the crowd. There were none that came close enough to us, but it was still fun to get up and yell.
The cams that mentioned earlier were fun, too.
Crusher, the Crush mascot
The Kiss Cam featured couples being captured on the JumboTron and then being encouraged to give each other a kiss. Their reactions, sometimes enthusiastic, sometimes tepid, sometimes very reluctant, were all captured on screen and applauded and laughed at. One particular man refused to kiss his wife(?), even though she tried to get him to give her just a little peck. The camera even featured them again, to give him a second chance. No doing. He was readily booed. The Flex Cam was similar, and asked for the featured person to give their best bodybuilder pose. There were no body builders in the crowd, so flexing did nothing for the crowd, except inspire laughter. Margo and I escaped without being featured, but I was prepared to lay one on her and to show the crowd my guns.
I mentioned that I thought the game would last only a couple of hours, but it was a three hour game.
The Crush Girls playing "The Price is Right" with a crowd contestant. He lost.
It did seem to go very quick. The end result did not leave the crowd happy, with the Dragons beating the Crush, 73-65. 50 to 60 points is completely normal. Combine that with all of the other distractions and you can see why the time passed so quickly.
Before we left my wife had one more surprise for me. Very early in the game we noticed a very attractive young lady wearing a bikini top and a barrel. Yes, a barrel. If you have watch a Broncos home game you have undoubtedly been exposed to Tim McKernan, better known as “The Barrelman” Tim is famous (He’s in the Hall of Fame) for wearing just his cowboy hat, boots, and barrel during the Broncos’ home games. This is in even the worst weather. The assumption is that the barrel hides additional clothing, but I have never been close enough to either observe or question him.
My favorite picture!
The Crush "Barrel Girl" (Identity Unknown) made here home at the upper seats of the club area in the end zone on our side. My wife could not fail to notice my glances up and to the right as we watched the game. ( I was looking for signs of pneumonia). Throughout the game many admirers stopped by to have their picture taken with her. Just before we left Margo asked if I wanted my pictured taken with her. Duh! I led the way, but it way to her section and Margo took my picture. The Barrel Girl was very nice, her barrel was signed by several of the players, and she wore black gym shorts under her barrel. What? Like you wouldn’t have looked?
That was our night. We had a great time. It would have been worth the price even if the tickets had not been free. The crowd was fun. It had much more of a festive atmosphere, as opposed to the fierce combative one at a NFL game. We’ll be back!