‘Tiger King’ and the Class of 2020 | VailDaily.com
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‘Tiger King’ and the Class of 2020

His name is really Joe Exotic?

Eagle Valley's Joslin Blair is just one of many Class of 2020 athletes who deserve to take a curtain call during their final high school seasons this spring.
Jim Harding | Daily file photo

I did not succumb to Tiger-mania.

And, no, we’re not talking about replays of the Masters.

While away from the Vail Daily, like most, I binged Netflix  —  “The Crown,” too stuffy even for a snob such as myself; and “House of Cards,” surprisingly an overly-too-cynical look at politics. (I didn’t know that was possible; and, spoiler alert, don’t agree to meet Kevin Spacey in a subway/metro station.)

“The West Wing” remains my leader in the clubhouse, which means I’m probably one of the few, the proud not to have watched “Tiger King.”

Sorry, but don’t color me surprised that some combination of a guy named Joe Exotic and tigers ends with the possibility of something going wrong.

Seriously, people, Google the word “Tiger,” and one of the results is the question, “What does a tiger do?” You don’t need Al Gore’s internet to answer — whatever it darn well wants.

Yes, I have had too much time on my hands.

In truth, it hasn’t been too bad aside from the new crater formed in my couch, and that I’ve been far too excited to go grocery shopping with a Burberry scarf around my face.

With the required sports stipulation that our country and world are dealing with bigger things in the COVID-19 pandemic and the completely justified heaping of praise to those on the front lines of this thing, it’s not surprising I got furloughed from the Vail Daily and the future remains uncertain in my chosen profession.

Recent national jobless claims and the brief but overly exciting drives to the grocery store with emptiness along U.S. Highway 6 show an economic starkness that will be with us likely long after the virus has hopefully left us.

I haven’t missed pro sports much. After all, the San Francisco Giants remain undefeated in the replays I watch on the dish.

What I have missed are lacrosse games, track and field meets and soccer matches. Yes, I just wrote that I miss lacrosse, which surprises me as well. I find this overly-litigious, preppy sport with weird rules regarding whacking one’s opponent with a stick still baffling after a decade of Eagle County having varsity teams.

For some background, my high school’s lacrosse team won year after year and was composed of the dumb jocks who make every angst-filled teenager hate high school. In some good news, my 30th high school reunion back in San Francisco in May has been canceled. Thank you, COVID-19.

Of course, lacrosse isn’t a dumb-jock sport. The intricacies of sliding into lanes and space or denying that room requires the intelligence and teamwork that make us appreciate sports.

One look at Eagle Valley’s Philip Petersen befuddling opposing defenders to score 54 goals and 20 assists last season, as a junior, even though everyone and his brother(s) — Erich and Julius were scheduled to suit up this spring — knew that he was coming, proves that point.

Was this going to be the spring that the Devils pushed past Battle Mountain for Eagle County and/or Western Conference supremacy?

We needed another episode of “The Blairs and the Battle Mountain Thundering Herd,” in track and field. This is Eagle Valley’s Joslin Blair’s senior spring. The athlete who has put Devils running — cross-country or track — on the map deserves a finale. And we hear that Samantha Blair is pretty good too.

Huskies track was likely going for its fourth consecutive girls’ 3,200-meter relay state title. Could they do it and was coach Rob Parish finally going to put Liz Constien on that team, as I have been requesting for the last few years? (Long-running inside joke, people.)

Just like Joslin Blair, one can only imagine Battle Mountain’s Grace Johnson’s final season. For her accomplished resume, Johnson has achieved Ortiz sisters/Alex Raichart/Harding sisters status.

Oh, by the way, the Battle Mountain girls’ soccer team is the two-time defending Slope champions. In an ideal world, it should have the chance to keep its crown.

Having been deprived of my passion — writing — for merely two-and-a-half weeks, I can only imagine what the athletic Class of 2020 has been going through during the last two months, seeing their collective final seasons slip away in what has to seem like an agonizing slow-motion process.

Along those lines, we’ll be profiling senior athletes from all four schools through the next few weeks and we welcome your ideas at cfreud@vaildaily.com.

In the meantime, enjoy “Tiger King.”


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