This book was written by Curtis Eichelberger who goes behind the scenes and on and off the field to give us a window into the spirtual journey of many football players, coaches. and their wives. The book is subtitled, "How Faith Guides The Players. Coaches, and Wives Of The NFL".
1. How they give glory to the Lord.
2. How the players deal with the violent nature of the game as Christians who are called to love one another,
3. The sacrifices that are made especially by the wives.
4. How they overcome adversity like injuries and family concerns.
5. How they deal with temptation.
6. How they deal with transitions like life after football.
7. What it means to lead.
I would like to read through the book again and take notes even though I am not a professional athlete because the lessons of life are universal. There is lots of wisdom these players, coaches, and wives have to offer. Some of the people interviewed include: Tony Dungy, Ray Lewis, Aaron Rogers (very little), and Trend Dilfer and Matt Hasselback. The author also quotes many others including Tim Tebow and Joe Gibbs. I learned a lot about some of the men that I didn't know. I have always appreciated the faith of Tim Tebow and Tony Dungy. I have read their books, "The Eyes of Faith" and "Quiet Strenth" respecively. Still, I learned more about these men of faith.
One important lesson that I took away from reading the book is that we must be willing to fail if we will ever accomplish anything, A football quarterback comples am average of 62% of his passes. That means he fails to complete 38%. A NBA players makes 46% of his shoots and a MLB players is considered great if he fails to get a hit 70% of the time.
The other important lesson was a reminder that no matter what we go through our faith will sustain us and God is faithful to see us through even if we don't have complete understanding.
I'm pretty good with words, but I'm not sure I can adequately articulate how disappointed I was by this book. Described as an exploration of the role faith has in the lives of NFL coaches, players, and wives, MEN OF SUNDAY proves to be a cursory glance at best and a confusing jumble of platitudes at worst. And the confusion stems from the very heart of the book, which is something of an internal argument Eichelberger appears to be conducting.
An intended central theme that emerges from the pages is that NFL players and their families are just like everyone else. They suffer with ailments, struggle with insecurities, fall prey to temptations, and face the same problems we all face as members of humanity. I know this, because it's written over and over (and over) throughout the book, almost as if Eichelberger is trying to convince himself that it's true.
However, this theme is betrayed by using terms like "ordinary people" and "regular people" to describe non-NFL employees. Coupled with an inherent weighting system that elevates NFL players above the fray, the stated central theme is modified between the lines to read something more like: NFL players are just like everyone else, except their problems are more severe, their struggles are more monumental, and, because of their success, fame, and fortune, they're way more interesting, wise, and worth writing about.
Further juxtaposing the intended subject matter with author's adoration of wealth and power is this gem of a quote, which I had to read several times over before I finally believed it was included in a book about living a life of faith according to God's standards.
"...it's unlikely that you'll seek out the advice of the mail room clerk, the loading dock manager, or the nightwatchman. If that's the highest he has climbed the corporate ladder, he must not be very wise." (emphasis mine)
Material success clearly determines wisdom. And yet... Well, that speaks for itself.
So that's the foundation of the book and on top of this sandy soil, Eichelberg builds his case. Or tries to. Initially, I assumed I was distracted by nitpicks that tend to bother me as I read. Then, slowly, it dawned on me that the quality of writing just wasn't at a level I expected. In addition to the aforementioned thematic disparity, the book lacks clear organization and completion of thought.
Though divided into chapters on distinct challenges NFL players face (Family Sacrifices, Temptation, etc.), several times I had to remind myself which chapter I was reading, because the stories don't always seem to align with the topic at hand. Many of the examples and quotes feel forced, or at the very least, hastily cobbled together. Further, the reader is often "left hanging" as the stories don't fully resolve and we're left to draw our own conclusions or fill in missing connections.
I don't want to make light of the struggles we all face - NFL employees and "regular folk" alike - or the importance of faith in handling these challenges. And I'm certain that, in line with the adage of "more money, more problems," these challenges can take on added weight with elevated exposure and societal status (perceived or otherwise). However, I don't think anyone enters that profession without understanding at least some of these risks. I also lean onto the promise that we are never overtaken by our temptations - that is, God always provides a way out and we face nothing we cannot bear.
MEN OF SUNDAY seems to ignore that passage of scripture and embrace something of a victim mentality on behalf of NFL players and coaches. That, along with the other annoyances I've already laid out (and a few I haven't), made this read both disappointing and aggravating.
Men Of Sunday: How Faith Guides The Players, Coaches & Wives Of The NFL, written by Curtis Eichelberger, is a book that is designed to give an in depth look into Faith and the NFL.
Eichelberger spent years interviewing players, coaches, and wives of the NFL with an intent to examine how their faith has shaped their lives and careers. The manner in which these interviews are presented brings the reader of this publication an inside glance at some of the trials of faith that are endured by the Christian athletes and coaches of the NFL. Their stories are truly inspirational, for they demonstrate how they relied on their faith to get them through the trials set before them.
Inside the book, you will find stories from past and present NFL stars, such as, but not exclusive to, Trent Dilfer, Ray Lewis, LaDanian Tomlinson, Mike Singletary, Aaron Rodgers, and Tony Dungy. Each of these stories will bring inspiration to those who cram around the television on Sundays, screaming at the refs as they play the role of arm chair quarterback, but it will also inspire even those who do not make the NFL a powerful part of their lives.
This book is a recommended read for any football fan, but even more so for those who are walking the faith and striving to serve God within their own lives.
I love football so was intrigued to read how faith plays out in the NFL. It's easy to read, has really good examples, and wasn't quite what I expected. I admit I thought I'd read how Christianity made these guys great football players. Definitely wasn't that. It really focused on how coaches and players dealt with faith within the football environment. It was broken down by chapters that dealt with various subjects and used faith examples within the chapter to illustrate. I thought the stories were touching and not every story was about someone who was a born-again believer. It was also interesting to read about some players that I didn't realize were Christians. Definitely a good read!
I received this book free from booksneeze.com in exchange for my review.