Tyler’s Mountain Magic Author: Malcolm Ater Reviewed by Fran Lewis
Teens are often resilient and can overcome many obstacles that adults would not. A serious illness might send an adult into a terrible tailspin, some teens or kids scared to death and afraid and others determined not to let it overpower their lives. The kids in Harper’s Ferry were not any different than kids anywhere else except for one thing. They loved sports always competed but never won. Creating a wrestling team that entered many entering competitions they were resigned to the fact that they would never come out victoriously. Not a great way to go into a competition but nonetheless they did try and do their best. But, one young man would take this group to the top of a huge mountain and much more, one young man named Tyler Moore would prove to his friends, his town and himself that anything is possible. Tyler spent most of his time in the hospital. Tyler has cystic fibrosis defined in the dictionary as: “Cystic Fibrosis is a hereditary chronic disease of the exocrine glands, characterized by the production of viscid mucus that obstructs the pancreatic ducts and bronchi, leading to infection and fibrosis.” Even with this disease he never gave up and the only road for Tyler was to reach the peak of the mountain or the pinnacle. Tyler’s Mountain Magic is a story of more than just courage but inspiration too.
Tyler Brown was rushing to the cafeteria after receiving a D from one his teachers. Upset and not watching where he was going he accidentally bumped into the wrestling coach. Worried that he was going to get lunch detention he never expected Coach Waters to ask him to join the wrestling team. “You can be
A champion,” he said. He felt the energy and drive in Tyler and he just met him. Tyler was thrilled and when he told his friends they each deliberated what was said and the fact that not one team ever won a championship in their town. Maybe it would change! You just never know!
When Tyler approached his parents with what the coach said his father approved and his mother was dead set against it. One parent who realized that setting limitations was not the way to go even though Tyler was always ill he needed to have a chance to be a normal kid. His mother, overprotective and afraid that joining this team would shorten his already fragile life or existence and did not want him on the team. One young man named Tyler who would not take no for an answer.
The narrator relates to the reader through Tyler and his friends the rivalry between the two groups of people living on either side of Blue Ridge Mountain. Tyler and his friends lived in trailers and their parents were not rich and they did not go to ritzy school or have every luxury in life. But, they were special. They were polite, kind and respectful kids who just wanted a chance to prove they could succeed in life. The other side or other junior high school was Mecklenburg and although they were winners their sportsmanship skills were poor and their attitudes anything but like winners. Everyone cannot come out the winner in a competition but everyone can learn to act professionally and treat the other team with respect.
Parents are supposed to teach kids to respect others. The students at Mecklenburg were taught hate and to look down at others less fortunate by their coaches and parents. When a team sport becomes work and the fun is taken out of it why would anyone want to do it? Losing is a part of life but what the author relates regarding students from Mecklenburg and their attitude towards the students from Harper’s Ferry is pure prejudice and ignorance. Lucky that Coach Waters did not see the competition as anything more than kids trying their best to have fun. But the first match did little for their morale and the end result was not a positive as the parents on the other team were just a rude as their kids when they won. But, things would change and one young man who enrolled in the school would light a fire under everyone on the team and actually bring them some victories. So, Eddie Gilbert would be their ace in the hole and hopefully Tyler would finally win his first match but first they had one more against Mecklenburg.
The match continues and not only the wrestlers feel the energy and excitement as the author recounts and describes the matches the reader experiences it first hand along with the teams. As each member of the Harper’s Team takes the mat, weighs in you can hear their inner most thoughts, feel their energy and momentum rising and cheer for them whether they win or lose. But, the telling and most gratifying moment is when Tyler takes his opponent down and his father beams with pride. When the coach took him out and wanted him replaced it hurt, but when he proved himself not just to the coach but to himself, he soared.
The dynamics of the team changed and the energy would rise before all was said and done for the season. It was now a real competition and in same cases the coach was reacting differently to the players and the outcomes. The last match said it all as poor Artie was up against someone more than twice his size and bulk. But, the end result will definitely make the reader smile and what the coach of the rival team should have learned eluded him. With the many wins under their belt the following year when the boys were in eighth grade the number of that went out for the team was so great they needed another coach. But, I would be remiss if I did not relate that the school had been cursed by John Brown years before but how and why you have to find out for yourself. This did explain why the school was sort of under a huge black cloud that would hang around during games so they would lose but not anymore.
Each match counted but the final one taught him or her real lesson as one member of the team let him or her down and Tyler lost a pivotal match, which literally tore him apart inside and out. All Tyler wanted was to be accepted and be treated like everyone else. Never using his illness as an excuse for not doing something and always trying to motivate his team his energy was contagious even though many times they lost. Author Malcolm Ater reminds the reader and everyone what good sportsmanship should be and what happens when even a great coach like Waters loses sight of it. What finally happens and will they ever beat Mecklenburg still remains to be seen? Written from the heart of the writer and allowing the reader to feel the frustrations of one young boy who would not give up and wanted to take life by the storm, Tyler’s Moore’s Magic Mountain is one book not only for YA’s and even younger kids but adults too. Think about what coaches could learn from reading this book and what those on pro teams could learn about sportsmanship and fair play.
Take a group of kids that are totally the underdogs, take one coach that will not give up and wait until you see what you get. The team starts out feeling dejected but the amazing thing about living on this mountain where others disliked you because you were not rich and different made these kids fight harder to be recognized and forced the school board who shunned them for years to take notice. Harper’s Ferry had some great, smart and good kids so why did it matter where they came from? All they wanted was to win fairly not cheat like some of the other coaches and teams and feel the shine sun down on them when they won. With their ace in the hole weighing in at 65 pounds and another who was tough as nails this team was motivated to win. Tyler Moore was an amazing young man. This is a true story that you capture your heart, body and soul from the start and just like this reviewer you won’t put it down once you start it as the people in West Virginia would learn that the real magic was not the mountain is was in the boys themselves and Tyler Moore.
When Mecklenburg blatantly cheats during a match and the coach is brought to task for voicing his opinion things are heated up and positions are in jeopardy. Only one voice is heard when the new season starts and that is Tyler’s who thinks that the impossible will happen and Harper’s Ferry will win 40 games and go out victoriously before the junior highs become middle schools.
Each competition brought more wins but the final one that would give them the chance at 40-0 would never come unless they agreed to wrestle Mecklenburg. What happens you need to read for yourself as one town comes together, one team stands tall and a group of coaches teach some young teens the meaning of honesty, integrity and standing up for what you believe.
What happens and if they win that final match you have to read for yourself. Tyler Moore is a real young man with a serious illness that he never allowed to get in his way. With his friend’s friend Danny, Chris and so many others who led his team as Captain to many victories and you need to read how they led one for him. This is a story that everyone needs to read. It is more than courage that kept Tyler going it was his special spirit and love of life. Thank you for giving me the honor of reviewing this outstanding book.
Tyler Moore: This review is dedicated to your memory and to Malcolm Ater the coach that told your story and to so many others that shared their lives with you. “ Sometimes you have to hurt inside before the important things in life really mean something to you.” You have to believe in yourself. Tyler did.
Fran Lewis: Reviewer
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About the reviewer
I am an educator, book reviewer, talk show host on Blog Talk Radio and I do online interviews with authors upon request. My book reviews are free and my reviews are honest, detailed and help spotlight … more
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