(Review) Twelve Mighty Orphans by Jim Dent
Genre: Nonfiction, Texas history, football, Masonic Home.
Rating: Very good.
Further links of interest:
Masonic Home and School of Texas. Sight Marker.
An article from the Fort Worth Star Telegram.
12 Mighty Orphans Blog.
I procrastinated about reading this book. It had been in my to be read pile for a few years. My dad bought the book and read it. He loved it.
Twelve Mighty Orphans is the story of the football team at the Masonic Home in Fort Worth, Texas. The time period is the Great Depression. The old Masonic Home and School of Texas opened in 1899. It closed in 2005. The school was its own school district. The home cared for orphaned and displaced children. The children were those born to Masonic members.
When the book begins the story of Hardy Brown is told. The Brown siblings were notable characters at the Masonic School and on the football team.
The football team at the Masonic Home was called the Mighty Mites.
The second chapter introduces us to coach Rusty Russell.
Twelve Mighty Orphans shares stories of the individual lives of the characters, the school's history, the football games, rival teams, and the strength and power of the Masons.
When I began reading this story, I knew little about this history...and I live in Fort Worth!
This is a feel good story. A story of an against the odds football team versus wealthier, larger schools. The story reminds me of other stories where sports is a main theme and the team wins big.
I enjoyed reading about the individual lives of the football players and the coach. The kids came from dire circumstances. Football was a healthy escape from their painful pasts. It gave them a chance to participate and be disciplined by a sport. It gave them a chance to be apart of something big. Playing football made them feel better about their situation.
A secondary character in the story, but by no means least, an African American man named, Moses. He was "a self-appointed good luck trainer."