Arnold Wilson’s sports collection noteworthy
Published: Oct 05, 2013
His sports collection is awesome!
It runs the gamut, from a photo of the father of the nation, Sir Lynden Pindling, watching a game of baseball back in the late 1960s, a picture of the fabled Speed Week race drivers, clippings inclusive of Eddie Ford scoring one of his legendary 100 points in a game, to Elisha Obed, the only Bahamian world boxing champion and tennis legend Leo Rolle in action.
Now 60, Wilson, a product of The Valley, his immediate stomping ground being the middle of Mount Royal Avenue, began collecting newspaper clippings, programs and other similar paraphernalia at the age of 14.
“First it started with people I knew in The Valley. Whenever I saw something in the newspaper about a resident of The Valley, I cut it out and kept it. Initially it was just about baseball and softball. I never played anything with serious talent, but my passion was collecting items about the stars.
“My approach has varied. Unusual vegetables, most of which were carried in The Nassau Guardian, road accidents, politics, society happenings, religious milestones, the works, I collected. Gradually, my collection included all of that, but sports remained my great passion,” informed Wilson during a recent chat.
The depth of his collection is simply amazing. The morning after the Ministry of Tourism aired its outstanding documentary of Mychal Thompson, Wilson brought for me to see, a double page spread of my coverage of Mychal and the rest of the University of Minnesota Gophers in action on the collegiate circuit back in 1978.
I remember, quite well, my visits to Minnesota to cover Mychal and Osborne ‘Goose’ Lockhart, but that particular special feature spread had faded from my memory.
This was not the case with Wilson. He had collected it.
Such is the comprehensive nature of this collector. His dedication to a craft not enough people get into is phenomenal.
In essence, Wilson is a historian. He has become one of the best, and his body of material should evolve into a museum. We have reached the point in our development as a nation, to begin focusing much more attention on preserving and teaching native history to all and sundry.
It is unfortunate that the Arnold Wilsons of our country are allowed to toil in obscurity. The importance of their work remains virtually ignored.
It is a special moment in time however. When the Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe gave his directive for the Mychal Thompson documentary to be produced, he opened a new avenue for Bahamians to travel and learn more of the quality history of The Bahamas.
Very quietly, Arnold Wilson has been doing his part in preserving Bahamian history. Thus, as we press forward in this mood, a way must be found to keep collectors like Wilson in the mix.
• To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at firstname.lastname@example.org.