June 18, 2013 Updated: June 18, 2013 at 8:25 pm
Coaches from the Northern Colorado football staff taught 33 high school players college-style fundamentals Tuesday at Vista Ridge as part of the program's annual traveling camps down the Front Range.
The real lessons, however, were learned off the field after a week of devastating reality just a few miles up the road.
The Black Forest fire has made the game of football secondary, if not therapeutic as well. The Bears staff made quite a statement to the local community with its commitment to donate all entry fees - $20 per player - to the Red Cross.
"That wasn't a hard decision at all," defensive graduate assistant Woody Blevins said. "We have a bunch of good men on this staff, and I'm glad we can do something."
Blevins knows firsthand the forces of nature as a native of Oklahoma City. He recently visited his old stomping grounds, pitching in to help in cleanup efforts for last month's devastating tornado, even if only for a few hours.
"Natural disasters are something that have always hit so close to home for me," Blevins said. "There are way more important things than money. The decision to donate the money didn't bother any of us."
Cheyenne Mountain senior defensive end Zac Owen gushed about the Northern Colorado staff with its help in his opportunity to learn and improve his skills.
He also enjoyed his time on the field, one year after spending time at his high school gym, helping evacuees who found shelter there after the Waldo Canyon fire raged out of control on the city's west side.
"I'm really thankful no one here was affected personally by the fire," Owen said.
"I feel lucky to have been safe twice. While it was great to learn a lot of good fundamentals they use at the next level, it was even better to be part of this, the fact that the money was donated to a better cause."