For Ted Diaz, 72 homecomings and counting
Rifle resident Ted Diaz spent last Friday celebrating his 72nd Rifle High School homecoming, but this one was just a little bit different. Diaz didn’t get to watch this parade because he was leading it.
Diaz, who turned 94 years young this year, has seen a total of 72 Rifle High School homecomings — 65 consecutively. This year he was named the grand marshal of the parade. Cruising Railroad Avenue in a blue convertible, Diaz was ear-to-ear smiles.
“I didn’t know what to think,” he said about being asked to serve as the grand marshal. “I’m grateful that I can be a part of it.”
Diaz was born in Delta in 1922. His family moved to the Rifle area when he was a boy. He says he did not attend high school because he was needed on the family farm where they grew potatoes and sugar beats.
After a two-year stint in the Air Force, Diaz found a niche on the Rifle High School football field sidelines as part of the chain gang — the crew that keeps the down and the distance at the football games. His passion for the RHS football team grew monumentally from there.
“I ran the yard markers for 48-years,” said Diaz. “I really like it when (Rifle) breaks a really long run for a touchdown. That is exciting.”
As an adult, Diaz played baseball, softball and basketball for various city leagues, but never football.
“I’ve got sports in my blood,” he grinned.
He has seen a lot of coaching changes over the years, and a lot of young men come and go from the gridiron. He loves being involved Rifle Bears nation, whether it is buying the cheerleaders a soft-drink, or watching the football team play.
After leading the Bears down main-street, Diaz had predicted a Rifle win over the Battle Mountain Huskies and Rifle didn’t disappoint. The Rifle High School football team cruised past the Huskies in a 52-6 victory — yet another reason for Ted Diaz to flash his ear-to-ear smile.
Theresa Hamilton is the director of communications for Garfield School District Re-2. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 970-665-7621.
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