Air Guardsmen bring 'Xtreme' football to Louisville
By Master Sgt. Philip Speck, 123rd Airlift Wing Chief of Public Affairs
/ Published November 15, 2012
KENTUCKY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- They've worked together for years as fellow Airmen in the Kentucky Air National Guard, deploying overseas to support the war effort or mobilizing at home in response to natural disasters. Now, they're giving back to the community by displaying athletic prowess on the gridiron.
A group of Kentucky Air Guardsmen is fielding an indoor and outdoor football team called Kentucky Xtreme.
"A few of us thought it was a pretty cool idea to own a football team -- a way to give back to the community and to help guys live out their dreams," said Staff Sgt. Victor Cole, the majority owner, general manager and coach.
Cole, a maintenance analyst for the 123rd Maintenance Operations Flight at the Kentucky Air National Guard in Louisville, Ky., played football for Kentucky State University, followed by minor league ball until 2008. While on deployment to Afghanistan as part of Agribusiness Development Team 3, Cole learned about the Kentucky Xtreme concept and wanted to get involved in football again.
Cole was joined in the effort by Dave Rooney, manager of the base Airmen and Family Readiness Program, who serves as the team's head offensive coordinator. Other Air Guard co-owners are Chief Master Sgt. Victor Dry, 123rd Communications Flight maintenance chief; Staff Sgt. Aaron McGahee, a fire team member for the 123rd Contingency Response Group; and Tech. Sgt. Terrance Jones, a crew chief for the 123rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.
The Kentucky Xtreme outdoor team is part of the Interstate Football League, a minor-league group comprised of teams from Indiana, Michigan and Kentucky. The outdoor league, which plays from June to September, is basically a skills-development effort with players who don't get paid to play, Cole said. This summer, Kentucky Xtreme practiced a couple of times a week at Doss High School in Louisville, and played their home games at Jeffersonville High School in Jeffersonville, Ind.
The Kentucky Xtreme indoor team is, by contrast, a professional arena football squad that belongs to the Continental Indoor Football League, Cole said. Arena football is normally played from February to June, and the Kentucky squad expects to face its opponents in home games at Freedom Hall in Louisville.
Both teams are ideal for players who've played high school or college football and want to keep playing to hone their skills or possibly make it to the National Football League, Cole said.
He added that his experience in the Air Guard has been crucial to developing an effective coaching style.
"Being in the Guard has taught me leadership skills, discipline and how to deal with individuals," he said.
Cole goes on to say he's glad he can help bring a professional, family-friendly football team to Louisville, and he encourages people to come out and support the team.
"We would love to have support from folks out at the base and their families," he said.