As a Razorback fan, it might be blasphemous to read a book about an obsessed Texas Longhorn fan, but I enjoyed Adam Jones’ foray into the world of college football writing. Jones is the humorous author of the Jones Top Ten blog, and someone had enough sense to recruit him to write a book. The “official” title of the book is Rose Bowl Dreams: A Memoir of Faith, Family and Football. I discovered his site a year or so ago when I began entertaining the thought of securing a domain for my blog. I was posting a blog, with a top ten, and my name was Jones. It was natural I would come across his blog. Interestingly, I had a high school classmate with the same name and wondered for about five seconds if it was him. Of course not!
Some reviewers are uncomfortable with Jones’ use of faith, recording his conversations with God (real or imagined) and general recalling of church life. However, for those of us who grew up in a culture in which faith was intertwined in all of life, we understand the importance. Truth be known, those of us in Arkansas who are religious have our own belief about God being a Razorback. After all, our coaches have been known for their great work with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Doesn’t that qualify? While Jones grew up Presbyterian with a Baptist background, he is now a lay leader in the Methodist church.
Jones grew up in the West Texas town of Canyon. Canyon was the home to West Texas State University, now West Texas A&M. West Texas State was the beloved school of his family of whom his grandfather was a legendary coach and dean for the school. The Buffaloes were known more for the emergence of professional wrestlers than football stars, however, with one last hoo-rah in Division I football, Jones retells of the upset of Oklahoma State in Stillwater. But, Jones’ destiny was in Austin, TX. After attending a game while visiting his brother who was a student at the University of Texas, Jones fell in love with the Longhorns. Jones became a certified fan when he too, became a student at Texas.
While Jones became an obsessed Texas Longhorn fan, the football team did not understand the importance of winning a national title in his honor. Year after year, the Longhorns suffered in mediocrity until Jones left for graduate school in “Nawth Kalina.” Upon returning to Austin, Jones and his young son embarked on the long road of single dad and football fans. Jones’ reason for optimism began to increase with the hiring of Texas coach Mack Brown. However, the Longhorns continued to underachieve leaving Jones grasping for hope.
Then, with hope all but gone, a miracle showed up in the form of quarterback Vincent Young of Houston, TX. Game after game matured Young as he became a fearless leader leading the Longhorns to a Rose Bowl victory over the University of Michigan with all the college football world watching. Young unmistakenly predicted that the Longhorns would return to the Rose Bowl to play in the national championship game. With all of his will and natural leadership ability, Young proved his prediction true leading the Longhorns to the long awaited national title game to play against the much heralded USC Trojans who sported two Heisman Trophy winners. You know the rest of the story.
Is this book only for Longhorn fans? One could argue that, but college football fans, while extremely different, have one thing in common. They are passionate about their teams. Adam could simply subsititute any team for the Longhorns, and the book would appeal to religious-type, church-going, college football fans anywhere. Well, almost. Maybe each college football team has an Adam Jones, and maybe he (or she) will share his story too.