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.
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“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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