By FRED PETRUCELLI
LOG CABIN STAFF WRITER
A retrospective on the life of the amazing American athlete, Jim Thorpe, will be offered at the public library Feb. 1 by a preeminent scholar who resides in these precincts.
Dr. Bob Reising has assembled rare and powerful footage, along with sound clips, of the renowned athlete who was born on an Oklahoma Indian reservation and lived to become the most brilliant athlete of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
In effect, Thorpe was regarded as the greatest athlete of the past century, starring in football, baseball and Olympic events. His statistical record in every sport he play proved this fact.
Thorpe’s wondrous accomplishments on the athletic fields brought him renown never to be duplicated. The most knowledgeable of coaches and players and front office people in the sports industry considered Thorpe a nonpareil.
Dr. Reising will share his insights about the life and achievements of Thorpe in a unique presentation that has been hailed for its accuracy and entertaining value, emanating from a man who has rubbed shoulders with athletic figures in his own dynamic career.
He starred as a catcher on the Michigan State University’s 1954 Big Ten conference championship team. He went on to become a head baseball coach at Duke and Furman Universities and at the University of South Carolina.
As a professor of English at the University of North Carolina, he became a scholar and expert on the life and times of Jim Thorpe. He currently is the evening supervisor of the Academic Success Center at the University of Central Arkansas.
Thorpe was born in 1887 and carved out his incredible career until his passing in 1953. In college he played for the famed Carlisle Indian Institute and as a pro he starred for the Canton football and track teams. He played baseball for the New York Giants, the Cincinnati Reds and the Boston Braves. And at the end, he was voted the greatest athletic figure of the 20th century.
He was the first president of the American Professional Football Association, the forerunner of the National Football League (the NFL). Out of this historical miscellany came a hypothesis that Thorpe was the man who made the Super Bowl possible. While there is a school of thought that gives credence to this belief, it must be remembered that Thorpe died in 1953. The first Super Bowl was played in the Los Angeles Coliseum in 1967 between the Green Bay Packers and the Kansas City Chiefs, in which the Packers won.
Dr. Reising’s presentation delves deeper into Thorpe’s life and depicts the famed Indian athlete as a figure larger than life.
His presentation will commence at 7 p.m. Friday. It will be a free offering, as all events at the library are open to the public. For more information, contact the library at (501) 327-7482 or contact Nancy@fcl.org, facebook and twitter.