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OORANG INDIANS FOOTBALL TEAM, 1923

There's no more colorful team in the history of sports than Jim Thorpe's Oorang Indians. Founded in 1922 in La Rue, Ohio by Thorpe and his hunting buddy Walter Lingo, the team was meant to publicize Lingo's Oorang Kennels, where he raised prize Airedales. With Thorpe as a player and coach, the team lasted two years. Despite the fact that it had talented players who had played at Carlisle, some of whom would go on to other pro teams, the Oorang Indians only won one game in 1923. The team attracted huge crowds, as much for their halftime antics as for their football. At halftime they'd work Lingo's show dogs, wrestle, throw tomahawks, shoot arrows, and dance in full regalia. It was a combination Wild West show and sporting event. Thorpe was more of a pal than a coach to his team. Having fun was a big part of the Oorang Indian experience. At half-times the team delighted in "playing Indian," despite the fact that many were better educated than their white fans.

oorang indians
 

JIM THORPE ASSOCIATION

A Moira Productions Film in association with Datline Productions, 2008, Lillian Lincoln Foundation