WWF Wrestler Will Get in the Ring with Literature Sunday

Article excerpt

Byline: Eileen O. Daday

Librarians at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library have let their hair down. For this Sunday's speaker they have invited a professional wrestler trying to make a name for himself with the World Wrestling Federation.

Not your average library presentation. But then again this is not your average wrestler. Arlington Heights native Chris Nowinski, 23, brings an unexpected perspective to his 3 p.m. appearance Sunday, entitled: "Reading, Wrestling and MTV."

For one thing he's Harvard educated and, for another, he was never allowed to watch wrestling growing up. Too violent, his mother said. Instead he points to his real inspiration for his development in wrestling: Great literature.

Really.

Nowinski captured the attention of fans across the country last summer when his character, Chris Harvard, was a finalist in MTV's "WWF Tough Enough."

Part of his national appeal was this contrast between Harvard and wrestling.

"Every time they showed him on the show, he was reading a book," says Shari Hetzke, who heads up the young adult collection at the library.

When Hetzke put together that the WWF is a major sponsor of Teen Read Week every October at libraries across the country, she tried to get Nowinski to appear then. The best he could do was time his visit with a Thanksgiving trip home. …