Up in a Balloon, Boys!

As I mentioned at the outset, I started this project by reviewing Alumni Reviews from the late 1950s. One thing that struck me was the novelty of new sports and outdoor pursuits popping up time and again – from skydiving, rappelling, and spelunking to the arrival of wheel skis and a possible predecessor to the game of Ultimate Frisbee (we’ll get to that later).

So when I went back to the beginning, you can imagine my delight when just one year into my exploration, 1910 brought me tales of the early days of aeronautics at Williams!

The whole read is quite a ride in and of itself. So what happened next?

We’re always throwing out the old, “Did you know the first intercollegiate baseball game ever played was between Williams and Amherst?” (no need to name the victor)

For the sake of variety, why not offer up that Williams was also a participant in the first intercollegiate balloon race on June 3, 1911?

Henry P. Shearman, Class of 1911 (I really need to figure out how I’m going to consistently abbreviate and note class years now that we have the ’11s of the past and the ’11s of today) and the pilot of that first intercollegiate balloon race, went on to continue his ballooning career at least for a little while – his first class notes submission post-graduation in the October 1911 issue of the Review celebrates his solo balloon flight.

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