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Playing for a rival is tough

Jeff Caspersen
Casper's Corner
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Jeff Caspersen
ALL |

Imagine growing up a Red Sox fan and playing for the Yankees. Or being a lifelong Broncos fan drafted by the Oakland Raiders.

Either scenario would spark the ultimate of internal conflicts.

Unless your name is Johnny Damon.

Well, that’s pretty much analogous to what Rifle High School senior George Keeper’s faced the last three years.

Keeper grew up swimming for the now-dissolved Rifle Stingrays club team and wanted to stick with the sport in high school. The only problem was Rifle High School doesn’t have a pool and, consequently, no swim team.

That left only one option. He’d have to swim for the nearest high school team, which just happens to be his school’s bitter sports rival.

That would be Glenwood Springs.

The Bear-Demon rivalry is deep-rooted and heated. Ask athletes at either school, and I guarantee most will tell you that beating their neighboring rival ranks second only to winning a league or state title.

And sure, you might see Rifle and Glenwood kids mingling after games, but on the field, court or on the track, those same kids will stop at nothing to score that big rivalry triumph.

Keeper best summed up the nature of the rivalry.

“Oh yeah, it’s big between everything,” he said, “from football to choir.”

But that hasn’t stopped Keeper from enjoying his Glenwood sports experience, even though explaining to people that he moonlights as a Demon in the water draws strange looks.

“It’s kind of weird to tell people I swim for Glenwood Springs,” the talented freestyler explained. “They just give me a weird look.”

That said, you won’t see Keeper shuffling through the Rifle High School halls sporting Demon apparel.

“I definitely don’t wear a Glenwood jersey around,” he joked.

Contact Jeff Caspersen: 384-9123

jcaspersen@postindependent.com


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