Patrick and Me Back in the Day

By John Ring

Published January 27, 2022 in The Burg


Hearing about the death of Patrick Hanlon was a jolt out of the blue to me. It was a punch in the gut. It was the loss of a good friend.

He died in late December and the news shocked and devastated his former teammates with the 1998 Silver Streaks—in football, basketball and baseball. That’s because Patrick was a three-sport athlete and a graduate of GHS that year.

And so it was that in 1998, Patrick won the Don Morris Award which recognized the best three-sport athlete from the schools in the Western Big 6, both on the field and in the classroom. It was well-deserved. He was a quarterback in football, a guard/post in basketball and a pitcher in baseball.

I always kidded Patrick he was on a roller coaster with sports. The 1998 Silver Streaks finished

second in the State and are rightly considered as one of the best basketball teams ever in the

long and storied history of Galesburg basketball. On that team, he played with Joey Range and

Rod Thompson, Mike Tapper, Steve Glasgow and Taylor Thiel. His coach was Mike Miller.

Those Streaks were a juggernaut. They took no prisoners. It was the Joey and Rod Show and

that team was close on the court and in the locker room. John Thiel Gym rocked on Friday and

Saturday nights. If Patrick didn’t start or play 30 minutes, he didn’t care. “I had one of the best

seats for the Joey and Rod Show,” he told me.

On the other end of the spectrum, Patrick quarterbacked a bad football team. The Streaks back

then were routinely on the wrong side of a running clock and ran what was called The Outhouse Offense. “It’s like we’re five or six years old and playing a neighborhood game,” Patrick said to me one day. “Hey, you run to the tree, cut right and I’ll throw you the ball.”

Naturally, Patrick was laughing when he told me that. Typically, the Streaks would compete in the first quarter, start losing in the second quarter and be blown out by the end of the game.

It was more ironic that his Dad (John Hanlon) played football for Augustana College and was a

teammate of Ken Anderson, who later had a great NFL career with the Cincinnati Bengals.

I was fortunate to be close to the Hanlon family. Patrick’s mother (Ruth Anne) was my daughter’s kindergarten teacher at Costa. I knew Michael and also Sean, who was his older brother. Sean and Ted Trueblood were quite a 1-2 punch for the Silver Streaks in the years they played together.

When I wrote for The Zephyr, Patrick was playing for the Silver Streaks and our Publisher, Norm

Winick, was amazed at how Patrick always had a good attitude and refused to be negative despite the constant losing on the football field.

I must have interviewed Patrick a dozen times or more. He was always polite. Courteous and

receptive to courtesy. Never too busy or too tired.

I hadn’t seen Patrick in years; or Sean, for that matter. They were good kids. Good Silver

Streaks.

I’ll always remember Patrick’s determination and grit on the football field. And, when the

Streaks ran out on the Civic Center basketball court in Peoria for their first state tournament

game, Patrick tried to look determined but he also had a smile.

I didn’t blame him. What a ride that team gave us.

My memories of Patrick will always be the same. Those were good times. Special times, for both of us.

Rest in peace, Patrick.

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