104-year-old former basketball player returns to court

Sports

PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A local basketball legend got back in the game Friday night, taking to the court 90 years after starting on her high school’s team. 

Madelyn Klenk, who is 104 years old, played on Comstock Park High School’s first girls basketball team in 1930. 

“That was kind of a new thing: basketball,” Klenk said.  

Former player, 104-year-old Madelyn Klenk, was the special guest at the senior night for the Comstock Park High School Girls Basketball team. (Feb. 28, 2020)
Former player, 104-year-old Madelyn Klenk, was the special guest at the senior night for the Comstock Park High School Girls Basketball team. (Feb. 28, 2020)

Klenk remembers her gym teacher asking her to be on the team during her freshman year.  

“Everybody had to take gym and we were playing basketball. We got through and then the teacher asked me to be on the team. I was on the team until I graduated,” she recalled.  

Before Friday’s game, Klenk met with the players as they snapped pictures and swapped stories. 

She told them about the big plays and the best players.  

“(My teammate) always knew where I was going to be, and she always handed me the ball and I made the basket,” Klenk said. 

Madelyn Klenk.
Madelyn Klenk.

The biggest laughs came when Klenk told the players about the girls team being better than the boys.  

“Oh, the boys teams coach never liked us,” she said. “Us girls would win the game, and the boys would lose.” 

Athletic Director Tony Petkus listened in with the team, saying these are the stories they will pass on to future players and generations.  

“I think that’s important for her to share those stories,” he said. “She’s got a lot of history.” 

In April, Klenk will turn 105, a milestone she will celebrate with her five kids, 12 grandchildren, 23 great-grandchildren and 15 great-great-grandchildren.  

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