Thursday, September 20, 2007

Quiet Strength

I finished reading Quiet Strength by Tony Dungy, and it was worth the time. Tony Dungy is the coach of the Indianapolis Colts and the first African American coach to lead a team to win the Super Bowl. His book describes his life and the lessons that he has learned along the way. Sometimes people may become discouraged about the negative news in football and other sports; sometimes people may wonder, Where are the positive black role models in the media? This book is encouraging, because you see that decent people can be successful in pro sports and positive black role models can be found there.

One of the recurring themes of Quiet Strength is found in the counsel of Tony's father, Dr. Wil Dungy: "What are you going to do to make the situation better?" From an early age, Tony Dungy learned to look for ways to improve things, rather than fall into a pattern of whining and self-pity. It gave him a good worldview. It gave him a strength of character that he would need in order to persevere in a challenging career.

When Tony Dungy played football for the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1970s, coach Chuck Noll would say, "Champions are champions not because they do anything extraordinary but because they do the ordinary things better than anyone else." Coach Dungy would keep that in mind throughout his life. He concentrated on doing the basics well in coaching his teams. As a result, his teams performed extraordinarily well. However, he applied the same principle to his life in general. He treated people well, volunteered in projects to help his community, kept his marriage strong, and loved his children. He was always aware that he was a role model to his family and to the public at large.

I enjoyed reading about the adoption of three of his children. However, the most emotional part of the book came when he discussed the suicide of his oldest son. You could feel that he loved his son deeply and that it hurt just as deeply when he took his own life. To this day, the Dungy family does not know what happened in Jamie's life to bring him to suicide. It was a difficult time, but the Dungys stayed together, grieved together, and survived together.

Tony Dungy's faith in Jesus Christ is woven throughout the book. I liked that he was not ashamed to let people know about his faith in Christ, but I love that he has earned a reputation of integrity to back up his words. He closes the book with these thoughts:

"I coach football. But the good I can do to glorify God along the way is my real purpose. I want to help people see the path to eternal life through Christ, to enjoy an abundant life now, and to fulfill their God-given purposes here.

We are all role models to someone in this world, and we can all have an impact---for good."


Anonymous said...

good post.

Terry said...

Thank you, Nancy.