'Once A Spartan, Always A Spartan'

After 41 years, the last of the Altenburgs hangs up his spikes playing football for Oak Lawn Community High School.


By David Altenburg

I was contemplating this week about the fact that my youngest son Sean, will be playing in his final game on Oct. 19 for Oak Lawn Community High School Spartan football.

He is the last of seven Altenburgs to suit up for the Spartans. Starting with myself, 1971-74; nephews Aaron Altenburg 1995-98, Justin Altenburg 1997-2000; my sons Ryan 2005-2008, Colin 2008-2011, Sean 2010-2013 and my daughter Sarah, who also competed in basketball, softball and volleyball for the Spartans. A total of 22 years of participation in Spartan football alone.

I still remember showing up for freshman year football, to get our equipment and being asked "what’s your name, boy," by Coach Ted Store and responding, "Altenburg," in the same locker room that Sean will gather with his teammates and coaches for his final home game vs. Bremen.

Coach Store slapped a strip of athletic tape across the front of my beat-up over used helmet and wrote "Altenburg." Little did I know at the time, some 41 years later I would be watching my youngest and one of six Altenburgs to play in his final football game as a Spartan.

I know when the time comes, as I am watching from the stands, and see the name Altenburg on the back of Jersey#2 walk off the field for the final time, I will think back to that piece of tape with Altenburg written on it. And I can’t help but wonder, if there will be another day when an Altenburg takes the field for the Spartans.

Over the last 10 years or more I have been very fortunate that when one moved on, there was always one more to pull out of the hat. Now that the hat is empty, it's time to tip that hat to all the Altenburgs who have competed as Spartans and say thanks for all the good memories.

I do know this; this is not my last game to watch the Spartans compete on the gridiron or the court. It’s been in the family to long to walk away. There will always be time to take in a Spartan game at the Altenburg house. It’s just like they say, "once a Spartan, always a Spartan," has never been so true.

David Altenburg is a proud graduate of Oak Lawn Community High School, and the father of four OLCHS graduates and/or current students. Altenburg serves on the OLCHS Dist. 229 school board.

The Dean of Mean October 19, 2012 at 03:12 PM
I am very proud to know and have worked with this family. Top notch all the way through and through. It starts with the parents who have done a first class job from the beginning.
Mark from the Park October 19, 2012 at 04:34 PM
Dave, from one Spartan to another, congratulations to you, Mary, and all of your Spartans. Mark Swick
Jim Bocinsky October 19, 2012 at 06:44 PM
Dave, you and the "Alt" clan have served the community well. I'm proud to be a friend and Alumni teammate still... Congrats on a great run - Bo
Lorraine Swanson October 20, 2012 at 03:27 AM
I look forward to Act III of the Altenburg dynasty. Thanks for sharing this, Dave.


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