I just finished Tony Dungy’s new book A Quiet Strength. Now this is a refreshing read! After a summer of hearing about Michael Vick’s dog fights and more news about "Pacman" Jones, this book is a view of the positive, wholesome side of some of the people in professional sports.
Dungy, coach of the 2007 World Champion Indianapolis Colts, speaks openly of his faith in God and his commitment to follow him each day. Dungy grew up in a good home, the product of two parents who took advantage of his growing up years to teach him what they thought he ought to learn. Regarding his dad, Dungy says that he was "…usually a quiet, thoughtful man." Dungy’s father was a scientist who taught on the college level. At home, he saw much of life as object lessons that gave him the opportunity to teach his children.
Dungy recalls a conversation that took place with his father when he was in high school. This conversation would mark him, in a positive way, for many years to come:
As I alluded to earlier, I had always had a problem with my temper. I often earned technical fouls in my high school basketball games and was known to lose my cool in football games as well. In high school and college, I was a perfectionist, usually riding my teammates rather than encouraging them.
"Venting," I called it.
"Dumb," my dad called it.
Our exchanges usually ran something like this:
"Did you change the referee’s call?"
"Did it make the situation better?"
"No, but I felt better, and then I could focus."
"Well you might have felt better faster if you were thinking about the next play instead of taking three or four or ten plays to ‘vent.’ You waste a lot of emotion and energy in venting or worrying about an injustice or something you can’t do anything about."
This was excellent advice from my dad, but I wasn’t ready to listen. It wasn’t until those Steelers (Pittsburgh) invited me into their Bible study that I began to change. There I was exposed to guys I respected who were constantly in God’s Word — always praying and reading their Bibles together. These professional players were not the weak and the meek; they were some of the biggest, toughest guys I had ever met. And yet they were drawing their strength and purpose from God. (p. 42)
Later in the book, Dungy makes several references to this early conversation with his father. I got the impression that his parents were very intentional about what they taught him at an early age. They also seemed to take advantage of "teaching opportunities" along the way. You might enjoy this book.