Steve Knox: The only Cougar


My son Ian started his freshman year at Janesville Craig a few weeks ago and I've had the opportunity to visit Craig a number of times in the last few weeks. It's the first significant time I've spent at the east side school since I graduated in 1989. I've always been proud to say I am a Craig grad and it always felt like I came from a family of Cougars, but it wasn't until earlier this week that Ian reminded me that I was the only one. Yes, I was the only Cougar in my immediate family.

Both Mom and Dad were Parker grads although Mom did go to school for a semester at what is now Craig. She was a part of the split shift in the late 1960s when the district was finishing up Parker. After I graduated in 1989 my parents jumped over the river to Viking country and my brother Tim graduated from Parker in the late 1990s. How could this be? How could a family of Vikings allow one of their own escape and become a Cougar?

I was always a loyal Cougar while in school but a part of me did secretly root for the Vikings to put up a fight during the Cougar/Viking baseball battles in the late 80s. Both teams were great and when they combined as teammates they rolled to the Legion World Series in 1989. It was easy for this Cougar grad to root for the Parker girls basketball teams in the 1990s as they qualified for state year after year. It was the same for Parker football. There were some great teams and it was fun to watch the west siders from the east side. Now I understand why it was easy to root for Parker. I was a Cougar in a Viking family.

The east/west rivalry is still strong and now that I have Cougar in the household (and another in 2 years) I need to make sure I don't lean 100% to the west side. It's fun to follow high school sports and I need to make sure I follow both sides of town again. Still, there's a soft spot in my heart for the Vikings. If it's OK with my family I will have to put the Cougar hat back on when they play Parker. I will need to keep the peace on the east side.

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