“Sports” was the theme of Week 41 of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks blogging challenge this week.
Feats of strength and athletic prowess were not common themes in any discussions I’ve had with relatives about our ancestors. That said, there clearly were some sports minded people in my family tree.
One was my grandfather, Michael John Hanley Jr. (1924-2015). Here are some photographs and documents attesting to his virtues as an athlete and student.
This appears to be the 1942 group photo of the St. Michael’s (Flint, MI) basketball team. My grandfather is #2, second in from the right in the front row.
And here is a close up, highlighting how his already short shorts seem to be hiked up even higher than the other boys’.
Grandpa lettered in basketball for at least his Junior and Senior years, 1941 and 1942. Here are his School Letter certificates for those years.
I found this note written on the back of the 1942 certificate. “Mickey” was grandpa’s nickname and apparently his pants were 16 and 1/2 inches long with 9 and 1/2 inches from the crotch to knee? I am not sure what that part says. The note also describes a button on the strap 2 inches from end (I think).
It is not clear to me why this note is there. Were the shorts made to order? Who wrote the note? I am not sure, but as the family historian it seems important to document all details, including pant sizes.
I found a few other documents in this collection. The first was grandpa’s diploma from Saint Michael High School in 1942.
For the first time just today I removed the diploma from its frame and found two more documents behind it! The first is a “Class Roll” for 1942. It has both my grandfather and my grandmother, Betty Grace Sears Hanley (1924-1981), on it. They were high school sweethearts.
And here is grandpa’s “Summary of Credit” detailing the classes that he took.
In a separate collection I found this sweet photograph of my grandparents (far right) “Taken after skating party at fraternity house,” as the note on the back suggests. I imagine this was taken a few years after high school. I will have to check the dates that grandpa went to college (General Motors Institute in Flint) and when he served in World War II. Grandpa and grandma were married in 1946, so sometime before then most likely.
Were there athletes in your family tree? Star students? I would love to hear their stories!