My secretary gave me this book for Christmas over a year ago, and I finally pulled it off the bookshelf a few days ago. Once I started reading it I couldn’t put it down.
Tony Dungy’s success as a coach is well-known. Perhaps less well-known is how he has always placed his faith and family above football. This book is an awesome look inside the life of a very impressive man. It is moving at times, and anyone who doesn’t tear up in the chapter that discusses the loss of his son (or cry like a baby, as I did) isn’t fully human.
I’ve never met Coach Dungy but I lived through a lot of the things discussed in his book. We had Bucs season tickets for many years, and I did a lot of work for the team during the crucial touch-and-go days of the stadium challenge. This book brings back a lot of those memories for me, good and not-so-good.
And while it is unlikely that I’ll ever be mentioned in a New York Times #1 best-seller, the tree that Coach Dungy mentions on page 194 of the book was actually in my yard, not Rich McKay’s. That’s about as close to a best-seller as I’m likely to ever get.
My daughter Peyton was a big Bucs fan, and she always went with me to the games. She idolized Tony Dungy and her favorite player was Warrick Dunn. As a father, I really appreciated the fact that her local sports heroes were men of character, faith and integrity. After we left Tampa my daughter gave up football for horses. All these years later her room is filled with horse stuff. With one exception. Front and center on a shelf otherwise filled with horse models is a football autographed by Tony Dungy, with his handwritten note: “Prov. 16:3”. That verse reads: “Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” Tony Dungy’s career is evidence of the truth of that statement.
Thinking of Bucs games with my daughter reminds me of a funny story. We were in our seats on game day, waiting for kickoff. I looked over at Peyton, who was nine years old at the time, and saw that she had a program and was drawing circles around the pictures of Bucs players.
“What are you doing?”, I asked her.
“I’m drawing circles around the pictures of the cute ones,” she answered.
“Really? Which ones are you circling?”, I asked.
“All of them except Warren Sapp,” she answered.
I highly recommend Coach Dungy’s book.