Monday, February 13, 2012

Reading Huddle: Quiet Strength

Welcome to the inaugural post of the Naptime Huddle Book Club!

My goal in starting a book club is to bring another level of understanding of football to those who are new to the game. Even though there aren’t games happening right now, I’m hoping that continuing your football education in the offseason will: (1) give you an even greater appreciation of the game, and (2) keep it fresh in your mind so you’ll be prepared for the start of the 2012 season. I figured a book club might be a fun way of doing that.

Here’s how it will work (or, at least how I think it will work): Every six weeks or so, I will introduce a book that is either a nonfiction work (most likely a biography/memoir), or a fiction work that is written by a former player or coach, or in which football forms an element of the plot. Then, about four weeks later, I will post several discussion questions about the book. If you are so inclined, I welcome the posting of any comments you might have in the “Comments” section on the blog page. Also, if you are a member of a book club outside of Naptime Huddle, you may want to offer our book selection to that group. In that case, feel free to use my discussion questions.

Given that this is the first online book club I’ve ever conducted, this procedure is subject to adjustment as we go on…

So, without further ado, I present our FIRST book selection!

Quiet Strength: The Principles, Practices & Priorities of a Winning Life, by Tony Dungy, with Nathan Whitaker.

Quiet Strength is the memoir of Tony Dungy, a former NFL player and head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1996 to 2001, and the Indianapolis Colts from 2002-2008, when he retired. Dungy was the first African American head coach to win the Super Bowl when the Colts beat the Chicago Bears (coached by Lovie Smith, who is also African American) in Super Bowl XLI.

A devoted father and Christian above all else, Dungy earned a reputation early in his career as a respected, compassionate, and intelligent leader who quietly, but effectively, inspired those around him to achieve their full potential. You will discover early in Quiet Strength that he attributes these qualities to the teachings of his parents—his mother a teacher, his father a college professor—and his unyielding faith in God.

Dungy’s faith is an overarching theme in his memoirs. No matter what your own religious beliefs are, however, the strength of Dungy’s faith, and the extent to which he uses it as a guidepost in life, will inspire you. That faith provided clarity in navigating a career that had its ups and downs, helped him stay grounded during periods of great success and steered him through tremendous personal tragedy.

Reading this book, I was also struck by the similarities, and not-so-obvious differences, between football as a job and the jobs everyone else has. This topic, and many more, will be raised by the discussion questions to come.

As for those questions, look for them during the week of March 5th. That should give you plenty of time to get and read this 300-page book.

I hope you enjoy Quiet Strength. Look in the left sidebar for a link to purchase the book on Amazon.

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