Terry Frei caught Hogs-Horns feel 

Readers of last year's great sports book "Horns, Hogs and Nixon Coming: Texas vs. Arkansas in Dixie's Last Stand" might have thought author Terry Frei attended either the universities of Texas or Arkansas at the time, or at least worked at the side of the Arkansas sportswriting sage Orville Henry if not on the staff of a major Texas sports section. Rather, Frei - who is in Little Rock this weekend as part of the Arkansas Literary Festival - was just a child when Texas and Arkansas hooked up in 1969 in the "Game of the Century," the epic encounter on Dec. 6 in Fayetteville that drew such dignitaries as President Nixon and Billy Graham and was watched on half the TVs in America. Few Arkansans, even ones not yet born, need no reminding that Texas won 15-14 with a fourth-quarter comeback. Frei grew up in Oregon, a world away from 1960s Dixie football, where Alabama, Arkansas and Texas dominated the national polls yet there rosters and those of most other southern college teams were all white. His father was a coach, so Frei certainly picked up some football knowledge along the way. Professionally he's worked as a writer for ESPN, the cable sports network based in Connecticut. But as far removed as Frei might seem from the fray of 1969 - Vietnam, race relations of the time, Nixon, and most especially two undefeated college teams in the South - he captured it all with feeling and fervor, transporting the reader to that time. I relish sports, sports books and anything Razorback in print, and I couldn't pick out anything Frei didn't seemingly know and convey accurately about the game. Plus, as a kid at the time too, I was educated by Frei's account of all the problems and protests - about the war, about campus race relations - that went on around the game. The great sports books eventually aren't about the game or its scoreboard result, but about the characters involved - on the field, in the stands, outside the stadium, around the country - and the times; books that appeal to more than just the sports fan. Frei's account of an important moment of Arkansas and Texas sports history is great because of that and can mean something to the average reader off in Oregon or Connecticut. He's an example of what the first Arkansas Literary Festival was trying to do: bring together a long list of noted authors with varying themes, to appeal to any tastes. Looking at the list of those here for this weekend (see page 24), it appears they succeeded. Frei, by the way, will speak at 1 p.m. at the Darragh Center of the Main Library, in the River Market.

From the ArkTimes store


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Jim Harris

  • Riverfest turns 40

    Party with Wiz Khalifa, Morris Day and The Time, Cold War Kids and more.
    • Jun 1, 2017
  • Review: Postmodern Jukebox at Clear Channel Metroplex

    The band’s shows cover most of the songs that have either been Youtube viewing sensations or are already album classics with that PMJ touch, such as Taylor Swift’s “Shake, Shake, Shake” and Radiohead’s “Creep.” Consider us blown away though by the show’s main set concluding number of The Postal Service/Ben Gibbard-penned “Such Great Heights” done as if by the Jackson 5 in an “I Want You Back” styling.
    • May 6, 2017
  • Review: Boston at Verizon Arena

    As it was, nobody left the arena and into a suddenly chilly April night saying, “I wished they’d played [song name].” Boston played it all, whether you wanted it or not.
    • Apr 27, 2017
  • More »

Most Shared

  • Industrial hemp pilot program coming soon to Arkansas

    One of the booths at this week's Ark-La-Tex Medical Cannabis Expo was hosted by the Arkansas Hemp Association, a trade group founded to promote and expand non-intoxicating industrial hemp as an agricultural crop in the state. AHA Vice President Jeremy Fisher said the first licenses to grow experimental plots of hemp in the state should be issued by the Arkansas State Plant Board next spring.

Latest in Jim Harris

  • What a great, fast eight years

    Eight years. I’ve really been “at the job” of newspapers for much longer, it just focused on entertainment during these past eight years. Starting next week, it will focus on sports. Again. Where I started eons ago.
    • May 4, 2007
  • Mickelson goes by the numbers

    It's all in the short game, Phil Mickelson says s at Alotian.
    • Apr 26, 2007
  • Back to what I really love

    Where was I, the sports lover, the guy who couldn’t wait for Dickey-Stephens to open, a few of you may ask? I was checking out one of my other loves: a local, original music show at Juanita’s that the University of Central Arkansas Honors College had pull
    • Apr 23, 2007
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »


  1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation