Last August, I began to keep a journal about Mississippi State’s football team. At the time, I had no idea that we would have such a great season, so my motivation was simply to gather material for a book about my generation of State fans. I wanted to express the long period of frustration we suffered at the hands of Johnny Vaught and the Ole Miss Rebels. All of this was prompted by a growing sense of personal mortality, and the passing of an era. I figured that if I intended to tell the story, I’d best be getting about it.
I kept notes on all of my conversations with, what I refer to as “my network,” and made a summary of each of State’s games. Mississippi State kept winning, and I kept writing, admittedly in total amazement. As the season progressed and the Bullies rose higher and higher in the polls, I experienced a level of excitement that peaked in the Bulldogs five week run as the #1 team in all of College Football. For a time, we were the darlings of the media and could do no wrong.
We were the lead story on every football program, hosted College Game Day, and reaped national publicity on a level that was unprecedented. Nine games into the season, we were still unbeaten and ranked #1. My buddies and I were in strange and unfamiliar territory. We just didn’t know how to deal with all this winning, and we kept waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Everything that goes up must come down, and State was no exception. A close loss to Alabama, and a thumping by the Rebels, returned the Bulldog nation to reality, and preceded a disappointing loss in the Orange Bowl. When the dust finally cleared, State finished the 2014 season 10 — 3, and ranked at #11. The name recognition and image building that went with our five week run as #1, resulted in a banner recruiting year, and hopes run high for next season.
The result of my efforts has been published as My Magic Year, by Front Porch Press, LLC. My Son Sam wrote a nice piece about the book on www.porchscene.com, and I hope you’ll click over and read it.
The book can be purchased by clicking on www.frontporchpressllc.com. There will be additional information posted here as things progress.
Categories: Tom's Books
I somewhat off handily joke that I spent 2 years in Chapel Hill, NC and didn’t go to a single basketball game, and 22 years in Knoxville, TN without going to a single football game, but readily admit to enjoying reading Tom’s latest. The brevity of comments on each game interspersed with his personal life comments and stories was the secret ingredient for me. Thank you.
Got the book Tom and thanks. It is in the Q after finishing Willie Morris. Will give you some feed back but it looks good.
You’ve known for a long time that I greatly enjoy a story well told, and you are at the top of the story-telling pile! But what a pleasant surprise to receive a signed copy of your latest effort, and THEN to notice that I am referenced and written about within those pages! In favorable terms no less! Well I assume it is favorable… as you didn’t preface my name with the descriptor of “damn yankee”.
I was touched indeed!
I quickly read the passage that concerned me (along with the football network entry) and I do indeed recall that conversation you referenced. Greater still, I was humbled to read that I was described as a ‘good friend’. Despite the miles and years since our last meeting, I too consider you a good friend of mine.
Once school ends (next week grades are due), I intend to dig in to each of your latest books (I STILL haven’t had time to read the book on Will D., or any other book of pleasure for that matter).
I do hope things are good for you these days and I look forward to your continuing blog entries. They are always entertaining. I keep waiting for the entry written by Clista that begins… “… after I hit Tom in the head with a shovel…”
I don’t know how she tolerates you Big Red!
Ken, Glad you received the book and hope you enjoy!
After 18 holes of golf and Anne in Memphis with our Grandson, I sat on the patio and read your new book. After Seven straight victories, I was beginning to get my State juices going again. I had forgotten you guys were 9-0 going to Tuscaloosa. How great would have it have been to beat the Tide!!!
I enjoyed it so much, I am taking the book to Dr. Rob Fesmire. You will remember him as an All-Sec defensive back in early 1980’s! He will enjoy the read.
A couple years behind me at CHS was Johnny McCaleb. Think Mike is his uncle, could be his Dad! Johnny is a very successful head of one of the Big 4 firms and lives in Little Rock!!!
Good stuff. Thanks for bringing me the book!!
Hi Tom: I hope this address still works. I just spend a couple afternoons this week enjoying My Magic Year. As an avid football fan it was fun to see and feel the excitement of a great football year. Your description of the games, your network of friends, the geography of the south and the SEC held my attention. Even though I am a cold weather northerner I was able to identify avenues I have used and a number of folks I know. Thanks for the book. Kindest regards, Jim
Well, I just opened the package, and the last thing I expected to see was a book written by an old friend.
I promise to read it soon and will take it to Judy tonight.
Note, I may not read Chapters 12 or 14 for reasons only you and Denny would understand.
Thanks to ya’ll, I simply cannot handle losing to the TOMSA’s. (I never even read the paper after each loss).
A couple of things from my fondest memories of us going to the MSU games:
1. Auburn, 1975, Jordan-Hare Stadium, tied 21-21 on Shug’s last game (we got screwed on a TD pass called out of bounds): My cowbell is stolen out of my hands by a female Auburn buzzard who never gave it back (b*tch).
2. UMISS, 1977, Veterans Memorial Stadium, won 18-14: The wet, crumpled, broken and tattered Rebel flag I picked up after the game and gave to you (you had it framed).
I hope you are doing well, and tell Sam, John and Scott I said hello.
Perhaps I will see you in ‘Vegas this fall at a game.
And yes, I miss Denny too, everyday…
I inadvertently neglected to say thank you for the gift of MY MAGIC YEAR. I will read and enjoy it thoroughly. I will spread the word about the book to my SEC football junkies (and most assuredly to Rick Gernert). Fortunately or unfortunately, as the case may be, I am still partially in the 20th century. I have absolutely no social media presence. I do not twitter, tweet, Linkin or any of the rest of it. I can barely text. We will stay in touch.
I just finished your latest book and thoroughly enjoyed it. While my knowledge of MSU football consists of the fact that we play Ole Miss every year your turns of phrase kept me chuckling at every turn of page. I think you are getting better at this. Thanks for the copy you sent. Again, I thoroughly enjoyed it and will look forward to your novel.
I had two e-mail addresses, let me know which is best to use.
Noel, glad you enjoyed. The novel is in its fourth re-write but is moving along now. More to follow I hope.
Hi Tom,Your book looks fabulous! Can’t wait to read it- I want to set upa booksigning during a football weekend – maybe August?Congratulations !Carolyn
Tom – I read, with delight, the football book. I am buying one to send to my brother Charles (whom you may remember, or may not [he came to State in Fall of ’59]). I’m also ordering, for Charles, a copy of “Cow College”. Keep them coming!!
Lep, thanks for the kind words. Nothing says “I liked it’ better than giving it as a gift.
This is great stuff. I enjoy reading your blog. Thanks for keeping me in your list. Hope we can get together this fall when you are back on campus. I think this year’s season will top last year’s. All the best,
George, Thanks for the kind words, I hope the Dogs top last year, if only by winning the last game of the regular season. Glad you enjoy my stuff.