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TN Member Memories: Flying High with Mike of the People

Family Fun Night at the FSU Flying High Circus with Mike Norvell


Next up in our Tomahawk Nation Member Memories series, we give you a recent encounter at the world-renowned FSU Flying High Circus, from TN reader Daigotsu.

Passing through time it's obvious that the real Florida State Seminole fans don't just come and go.

Ask anyone who has been around Florida State over the past 50+ years, and they will tell you there is something remarkable about FSU and Tallahassee.

From the people you meet, the things you observe, and the type of characters it attracts, even if you can't put a finger on what makes FSU unique, it is still there.

Tomahawk Nation has been gathering a collection of memories from fans, old and new, big and small, through all walks of life, to share their stories from their experiences in Tallahassee, and from being a Seminole fan.

Mike of the People — Daigotsu

A few weeks ago, I decided that I was going to take my 4-year-old daughter to the FSU Circus. I always loved going to the Circus growing up and I thought this would be a good bonding experience.


What I did not expect was to meet Coach Norvell and get a chance to confirm for myself what recruits and players have to say about our Coach in interviews.

We parked by the softball fields and enjoyed watching the crowd cheer on our Lady Noles, but we were running a bit late and saw the long line heading into the circus, so we hurried over.

RELATED: The FSU Circus Flies High Under The Big Top

Rivaling many professionals, the Flying High Circus is a unique tradition at Florida State University.
1951 FSU students reported for circus training practice.
Photo courtesy Florida State Special Collections

Then I saw a familiar silver streak heading out of the Stadium over towards the Circus.

There he was: our head football coach, Mike Norvell.

At first, I wondered where he was going, but as we followed the line of people heading into the circus, it became clear that he was going to be joining this line to watch the same circus act that we were.

No side entrance or special treatment, just the same 20-minute line in the afternoon Florida sun that some of us were complaining about.

Meanwhile, a few came up to him to shake his hand, give him a high five, or ask for a picture. He enthusiastically complied with all requests. Pretty soon the line started moving and he just continued in line like the rest of us, a man of the people.

He was casually chatting with the groups around him, answering questions about himself, or asking how everyone is doing - just casual conversation you might have with people as you are waiting in line at Disney. Showing the same energy, we see in videos from practice except (without the yelling.)

It made me think about the type of person we have as our head coach and the type of people who came before him. reminding me of a story that my father told me about Coach Bowden.

He would come to pick up his sunglasses from the Hourglass in the Mall, just him and Ann. No pomp and circumstance, just a man out running an errand or out enjoying a show.

I feel the spirit of Bobby lives on in Coach Norvell.

We’ve all read the stories about how coach Bowden could walk into a recruit’s home and convince them on the spot. His charisma and charm — a skill he perfected by being personable and spending time with people.

I am not saying that Coach Norvell will have the same type of career as Bobby did at FSU. He may not have a storied career here like the coach who built our program, but I believe he will. His demeanor that day at the circus will be a reason why. Coach Norvell might not be the coach that leads FSU back to the top of the mountain, but dadgummit, I want him to be.

We would like to thank Daigotsu for his contribution to the TN Member Memories series, and for sharing his experience with the Tomahawk Nation Community.


Please check out these other previously published TN Member Memories:

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