Friday, November 30, 2012

Tales of the South Side: The Late Svebjon "Hike" Sorben Returns to Ground

Svenbjom "Hike" Sorben ( 1939-2012) - Suddenly

Fans of low hurdles were saddened to hear of the passing of The Saltating Swede, Svenbjom "Hike" Sorben who wowed the crowds of Old Calumet High with his bounding athleticism on the track and field cinders and across many lawns in the Highland section of Chicago's Auburn Gresham neighborhood in the mid-1950's.

Hike Sorben was  the only son of Tilda and Torbjorn Sorben, who operated a Swedish meats, herring (smoked pickled & creamed), pickle and cheese store at 85th & Racine. Svenbjom leaped over footstools and toadstools, mattered not.

While in grammar school at Cook Elementary, Svenbjom took on the name Hike while playing prairie football in the vacant lot between the houses in the 83 Hundred Place Block on Morgan Ave. with his pals Spats Cullina, Dibs Thompson, Nose Banacheckovich, and Just Plain Bill Smith. Every  time the word 'Hike' was called by Dibs for Nose to snap the pigskin young Sorben would bound over not only the offensive line but the defense as well.

At Calumet High School, Hike Sorben single-handedly accounted for more track and field points than any athlete in the school's history capturing high and low hurdle, as well as, low, long, and high jumping honors.

A poor student, Hike never matriculated to a quality post secondary education, nor did his short-lived military career as an Air Force mail-sorter burnish his once sterling record of achievement.  Sorben was asked politely to leave the military two years earlier than his required enlistment agreement due to his penchant for bounding over base shrubbery, barbed wire fences, barracks bags and napping Airmen.

He became a US Postal letter sorter and moved to Wyoming in 1970, where he competed in local track and field events until his 2012 visit to the Grand Canyon.

Services closed to the public and family.

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