What was the biggest challenge?
A lot of times, the biggest challenge is putting the whole jigsaw puzzle together.
I guess writing about mid-century coaches (Harvey) McNease and (Buzzy) McMillian were the chapters I had the most fun with and it was a kick to interview the old boys who played here before I was born. When I began to do the research, I had no idea when football was first played in Ocilla or what the pioneers were like. To find some clues, I chugged through reams of very old copies of The Ocilla Star on microfilm, searching til about blind and then I struck a motherlode. I had expected to find a colorless line or two in the papers about the boys. I did not believe the early boys were a very big deal. But the Star was rich with material that made the story go.
Was there a particular story that even surprised you about the history of the program?
In digging for material, I found that the boys of the 1920s were the most clean, plucky, exciting teams of their day. I did not expect that. Certainly, I had never heard of Marion Dickens, for example. Well, Dickens, I determined, was one of the first football players we had who put Ocilla on the map in a positive way. I really enjoyed writing about him and his cohorts even though the research it took to put some meat on the bones of the figures was very tedious and, if you want to do a book on your own team, you’d better be prepared to cry and dig. I had to comb through the material very slowly and read between the lines to paint a picture.
How can people get their copy of the book?
It took a hell of a lot out of me to finish this work and if you want a copy of what I’ve written it’s on Amazon for $19.95. Just go to Amazon.com and type in “David Pierce football book” and it comes up. My publisher, Lance Coalson, also has “Our Boys” for sale at fatherson.com or you can get a copy straight from me. I’d like that. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org and I will see to it that you get an autographed copy.
What's the next project?
If boys win state this year, I am contemplating a sequel. Now, I am looking at writing some fiction and the first draft of my memoirs is finished. Meanwhile, a man in Fitzgerald has asked me to write a history of the Hurricane football team. That might be interesting work. We always thought of Fitzgerald as the enemy.
Having done a chapter on Fitzgerald in my first book, “Backroads and Backfields,” I know all about Fitzgerald’s beginnings.
David, there’s some really nice folks in the county to your north.
I think it would be a fantastic tale to tell.
Play it safe, everyone… I’ll talk to you soon!