Many families have a strong history of sports participation, in our family it’s more sports appreciation.
There is a photo of my dad playing basketball for his school and it has been said that he was playing in the state championship game. I did see that my mother had a ribbon with a gold basketball attached to it but haven’t been able to corroborate the state championship story.
Dad (center) as a Cardinal
Dad went to Central YMCA High School in downtown Chicago at 19 LaSalle St. A private prep school it was a member of the Midwest Prep Conference in 1927 when dad likely was a senior. The team name was the Cardinals and their colors were red and white. Whether he played on a state championship team or not, dad loved basketball!
Growing up in the 1950s there weren’t many chances to participate in sports if you weren’t good enough to make the school team. I do remember playing basketball on a CYO (Catholic Youth Organization) team in 7th or 8th grade. These were intra-mural games played locally on Saturday mornings.
Our house was a block from a large community park which hosted a variety of winter sports along with tennis lessons in the summer. In the winter there was ice skating and sledding. The ice rink was lighted at night and it was where the teens hung out after dinner. I loved ice skating and would imagine that I was Sonja Henie, the Norwegian Olympic Skater. Probably due to my Norwegian heritage. In the summers I would take the free tennis lessons offered by the Park District.
In High School, I played girls basketball (1/2 court at that time) and vollyball as intra-mural sports again since I went to a small all girls school. I college my PE classes were lifesaving and golf. In lifesaving and to pass the class I had to rescue the PE teacher. Golf was taught in the gym using wiffle balls.
Our children had more exposure to sports and we had the obligatory basketball hoop on our garage but neither made the team. Since their school was heavily invested into basketball we were big team supporters and went to the state finals with both the girls and boys teams one year.
My daughter chose running as her sport and joined the cross country team.She stayed with it all four years and lettered in her Junior year.
The current generation has turned more to music than sports as all three have been members of the marching band. Their school band travels with the football team so they have developed an appreciation of football. Anybody who doesn’t think that members of a marching band are not athletes hasn’t watched a high school or college half time show lately.
The youngest granddaughter is a competative diver and a definate athlete. She competes both for the high school and her club. She is also hoping to dive in college.
Although our family hasn’t developed any all star or all state athletes, we are very appreciative of the value sports add to our lives. Besides you can’t grow up in the Chicago area without being a sports fan!