Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Quiet Strength

The Principles, Practices, and Priorities of a Winning Life

by Tony Dungy

Published by Tyndale House Publishers (2008)
352 pages

Typically when one talks about their sports “heroes”, that hero is renowned for their extraordinary athleticism (think Torii Hunter making one of his Spiderman-like catches in centerfield). Conversely, the athlete often gains notoriety for their less than noble actions off the field. Usually the image we get of that athlete is one-dimensional. Tony Dungy is a man who beats the stereotype.

Dungy has earned a reputation, on and off the field, as being a man of integrity and honor: an African American head coach, the first to ever win a Super Bowl, a leader who encourages his players to always be at their best, especially when the game is over; a philanthropist involved with several charitable organizations; a family man who embodies what it means to be a loving father and devoted husband; a child of God who, in all things, puts God first. Even when interviewed on national television for the Lombardi Trophy Presentation, he credited God for bringing him and his team through the storm. “…we said this is going to be a storm, we said the Lord doesn’t always bring you directly through, sometimes you gotta work for it.”

While Quiet Strength is written about a head coach in the National Football League, it is not a book about football. Rather it is a story of Tony Dungy’s journey through life, about his parents who lived their faith, teaching their children to do the same. It’s about his time as a quarterback for the University of Minnesota Gophers, his brief stint in the NFL as a safety, his years as a defensive coach, his ascension to head coach of first the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and then to the eventual Super Bowl Champions, the Indianapolis Colts. He writes about the temptations faced in the business, the challenge of finding time to be a proper husband and father, and the tragic death of his son. He talks about the discipline required to study the Bible every day (giving particular credit to the book of Nehemiah as being an excellent tool for leaders). He espouses the importance of keeping “winning” in the proper perspective citing, Matthew 16:26: “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?” He speaks of the challenge to remember that his life is perpetually in the spotlight. Everything he says and does is a reflection on his character; therefore he needs to live his life in a manner that lets others see Jesus shine through him.

Dungy believes that is the reason he’s been given the gift of being a head coach in the NFL. It’s his platform on which to serve and glorify Christ, to demonstrate the Quiet Strength that can only come from God. He does it all, admirably.

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