Friday Night Lights: LEGOs are career building blocks for Douglass' Mildren Montgomery

Montgomery is committed to Texas Tech, where he plans to study architecture. Montgomery uses his LEGOs to construct the images he sees in his mind.
by Scott Wright Published: October 31, 2013

At first glance, there's nothing special about Mildren Montgomery's nightstand.

A Bible and a clock radio sit on top, along with a cellphone and a few other personal items.

It's when Montgomery, a senior football player at Douglass High School, slides open the top drawer that his life's passion is revealed.

The drawer, which measures about 18 inches wide by six inches deep, is filled with LEGOs. Big, small, every color you can imagine.

At 6-foot-5 and 270 pounds, Montgomery might seem out of place in a LEGO Store — which he still visits a couple times a month. It might seem odd that one of the state's top football recruits still plays with a child's building set.

But there's more to it than a teenager refusing to relinquish part of his youth. Montgomery's LEGO passion is much deeper.

Montgomery is committed to Texas Tech, where he plans to study architecture. Some future architects his age practice their craft with drawings or computer programs. Montgomery uses his LEGOs to construct the images he sees in his mind.

“My friends give me a hard time, asking me why I play with a child's toys,” Montgomery said with a laugh. “But when you see a building — the school we go to, our buildings that people work in — somebody had to have an idea for that design.

“Maybe they drew it or sculpted it out of clay. There's always been some kind of way for that person to get the idea out of their head to design that building. Maybe my way is more childish, if you will, but it gets the job done.”

Constantly seeking an outlet for the designs his mind creates, Montgomery is always building. Maybe he keeps it for a couple days. Maybe a couple weeks. But eventually, his structures come down so something else can be designed.

Montgomery figures his drawer full of pieces represents about one-third of the LEGOs he's owned. Many got lost or broken, or found their way to the trash can when his mother got tired of stepping over them.

But Montgomery's passion never faded. In sixth grade, when his parents didn't think he was old enough to have a cellphone, he built a flip phone out of LEGOs. It had numbers, a caller ID screen, the works.

A few years later, he designed a laptop computer that had all the keys of a regular keyboard, and could be folded up to pack in a bag. Most of the time, he sticks to houses or buildings or cars. But his LEGO-centric mind never stops working.

Of course, playing left tackle for third-ranked Douglass keeps him busy these days. He has to protect the blind side of sophomore quarterback Patrick McKaufman, and open holes for running backs Brandon Gaddis and Deondre Clark.

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by Scott Wright
Reporter
A lifelong resident of the Oklahoma City metro area, Scott Wright has been on The Oklahoman staff since 2005, covering a little bit of everything on the state's sports scene. He has been a beat writer for football and basketball at Oklahoma and...
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