It wasn't exactly a must-win, but seven weeks before their season kicks off, the University of Colorado football team picked up a little momentum Saturday, besting the campus police department in a friendly softball showdown.
The football side overcame back-to-back-to-back home runs by the cops to win 14-9, in a rainy affair at the ball fields near the corner of 30th Street and Mapleton Avenue.
"We're not taking it easy on them today," joked senior running back Tony Jones before the game. "They never take it easy on us."
The athletes, buoyed by power hitting, seized the win, but it wasn't always pretty.
"We don't play baseball, let alone softball," junior linebacker Deaysean Rippy said. "But it's fun to see our guys out here at least trying to make an effort."
For both sides, the event offered a chance for two groups often at odds so socialize.
"This is a great way for the team and the police to get to bond together and get to know each other a little bit more," redshirt sophomore running back Terrence Crowder said. "Whenever we go out, even though we're not causing harm, it looks like we are because of how big we are."
The idea was sparked by junior cornerback Brandan Brisco, who approached CU police's Mike Lowry about having a softball game to build a "more positive relationship" between the groups.
"You look at the relationship the football team has had with the police department over the last couple years, and I look at our ability to play together on the field today as an opportunity to strengthen our bond," CU Police Chief Melissa Zak said.
"Sometimes you have our students of color who are coming to play at CU, who may have a different perspective of law enforcement, and I'd like to be able to show them that we aren't all bad."
Many players said Saturday's game showed them not only that cops have human sides, but that they can swing the bat, too.
"I wouldn't be surprised if a few of them are in an old-school softball league that they dominate," Rippy said.
"Well," Lowry explained, "the advantages of age an experience shine through over youth. I think these football players, they're great athletes, but some of them aren't the best softball players I've even seen."
The football team did struggle at times, particularly defensively, where massive lineman were often pressed into infield duty, wearing provided gloves that barely fit.
"We're football players, man. We don't usually do this," Crowder said. "So, you know, the hand-eye coordination is a little off."
While youth and muscle ultimately proved enough for the Buffs to win, Brisco called the event a success on another, more important level.
"We get to show them that we are good young men," he said. "There's this perception that we're football guys and we have this attitude that we kind of run the campus, which is not true."
"For us," Zak added, "when we drop a ball out there or we miss a swing at the plate, it shows them the cops aren't the big bad people. We're human beings just the same as they are."