Once a Demon, always a Demon
Special to the Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” As time expired in the 1994 district basketball tournament, the Glenwood girls basketball team found themselves on the losing end of a semifinal encounter with Steamboat Springs. The defeat dashed all hopes of making a trip to the state tournament and brought an end to the careers of three seniors who had meant so much to the program for so long ” Barb Riley, Markee Tadus and Tiffany Robison.
There was a fourth senior on that team, one who never actually put on a uniform or ever entered the game to score a basket or grab a rebound. He watched and cheered passionately for the Demon girls that day, as he had done the past three seasons as the team’s manager and biggest fan. Always dressed in red, living and breathing with every shot, every possession, he was more devastated following the loss than anyone on the team.
For one reason: Lee Hailey is, without a doubt, the number one biggest Glenwood Demon sports fan there ever was, and probably ever will be.
Hailey served as the volleyball and girls basketball manager at Glenwood Springs High School from 1991-94. He rarely missed a Demon sporting event, and can recall with uncanny accuracy, player performances, scores of past games, and the emotions he felt at each big win and devastating loss, including that early March day in 1994 when the dream of going to the state basketball tourney ended.
“It was a heartbreaking loss,” said Hailey with a faraway look in his eyes. “I never felt so bad. I felt bad for the girls.”
Sandy DeCrow, who coached the Glenwood volleyball team from 1991-2001, recalls vividly,Hailey’s dedication to the team and his manager’s duties.
“Lee was so intense, there were nights when I had to restrict where he could sit,” said DeCrow. “I couldn’t let him sit on the bottom row of bleachers because he would get so excited. He loved those kids.”
In high school, Hailey initially wanted to become a member of the boys basketball team, but the competition was stiff in tryouts his freshman and sophomore years, and he found himself on the edge of making the team. One thing that softened the blow of not making the boys squad was being able to watch his sister Casey play on the girls team.
Casey Hailey was no ordinary player. She was the Player of the Year in the Western Slope League in 1995 and went on to a playing career at Grand Canyon College in Phoenix.
If Lee Hailey’s eyes darken when he recalls a tough Demon loss, then they equally sparkle when he talks about his sister Casey.
“It was special watching that girl play,” said Hailey. “I wanted to play for the boys. I wanted to in the worst way. But my dream changed when I saw my sister play. Casey is a wonderful person.”
Following high school, Hailey worked for a short time in Glenwood at the Best Western Motel for his uncle, Rich Law. With family in town and being raised here by his father, Greg Hailey, and his stepmother, Terri, one would think that Lee wouldn’t want to venture very far away. There was a void in Hailey’s life, though, one he had felt for many years. He wanted to be closer to his mom, Susie Rogers, and in order to do that, a move to Lamar was in order.
“I really missed her over the years. It was tough to not see her as often as I would have liked. Terri (Hailey) is a wonderful lady and I love her, but it meant the world to me to be closer to my mom,” said Hailey.
But even in Lamar, where Hailey attended all of the high school sporting events that time would allow for, his thoughts weren’t far from his hometown team.
“I followed the Demons from afar,” said Hailey. “I would check the papers and internet every weekend to see how the teams were doing.”
Hailey gives an insight to his personality and his love of kids when he mentions that even though the athletes in Lamar were wearing orange and black, as opposed to the red and white he was used to, supporting the youngsters gave him pleasure.
“I supported the Lamar kids. You always have to support youth,” Hailey stated.
Hailey came back to Glenwood for a brief stay in the summer of 2006 and realized he missed his friends and family. With his mom relocating to Rangely, Hailey decided it was time to come home.
“I saw everybody here, all the familiar faces, and I wanted to come back. Family is everything to me,” he said.
Being back in town, Hailey has missed few Glenwood athletic events, especially when the football, basketball, and baseball teams are scheduled to compete. With his brother, Patrick Hailey, entering his senior season for the Demons, Lee is as excited as ever for the fall of 2008 to arrive.
“I’m anxious to watch that (Demon) football team,” said Hailey, visibly keyed up. “It hurt to see those kids in pain after the game against Sterling, to see their sadness. I want to see them come back and win a state title.”
When the high school sports season gets back in full swing come September, it will be easy to spot Lee Hailey in the stands. He’ll be decked out in his all red Demon attire, and wearing his heart on his sleeve with every high and low that his alma mater experiences.
There will be no bruises, cuts, or scrapes on his body, but Hailey will be right there in the battle with his team, as close as any fan can ever get to the actual game.
Hailey lets out a loud roar when asked to recall his favorite moment at a Demon sporting event. Of course, it came against his least favorite team.
“When I was a senior, the cheerleaders came over to the bench and asked me to wear the Demon costume for the final home game of the basketball season,” recalls Hailey. “That outfit was hotter than heck, but I had a great time.”
Hailey is hardly able to control his enthusiasm when he talks about what capped off that evening in perfect style, “We beat Rifle by a point.”
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This game. This rivalry. This season. It hasn’t meant this much in a long time.