Today is such a unique and historic day that I thought I would take a break from X's and O's and do a little introspection instead and talk about inspiration, values, and approach. Most of y'all probably know that Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy retired last week after his team lost in their playoff game. I decided to pick up his book last week Quiet Strength: The Principles, Practices, and Priorities of a Winning Life and just finished it yesterday. It literally blew me away.
Regardless of your religious affiliation, what comes across most vividly through the book is that faith matters. Faith, not necessarily in a religious sense, but faith in the philosophical sense of knowing that you will make the right decision because of the values and traditions that you believe in. So if you do happen to be a Christian like Coach Dungy, it is his faith in God that provides him the strength to overcome any challenge, to be truly fearless in everything he does.
When I think of character, I think of that old Christian adage of The Golden Rule. "And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise" (Luke 6:31). And I'm not only referring to your players, but your own character. I meet a lot of coaches as we all do and we all know the ones that have good character and the ones that have bad character. As molders of young minds, we project our character onto others, and believe it or not as coaches we have an incredible influence on how these young individuals will develop character-wise. Coach Dungy is obviously a man of character. He treats others the way he hopes others will treat him and it reflects in the players on his teams.
An often neglected part of the "coaches life." Coach Dungy is leaving to spend more time with his family who needs him. Every coach sacrifices a part of himself for this vocation. But the key is balance. I do believe that success can be achieved in both family and work. Maybe it means smarter practices, better time management, or delegating to assistants more, always find time for the family. Recently a long-time high-profile high school head coach from where I live announced he is retiring after the end of this season. Sometimes you have to recognize when it is time to step away.
With the grace that is what makes Tony Dungy the most "Uncommon Man" of all, he ends with this great and often quoted passage:
And so we press on…We press on with our sense that life’s not always fair. And we press on with the knowledge – and assurance – that even though we can’t see all of God’s plan, He is there, at work and in charge, loving us… We press on into an abundant life on earth, followed by an eternity with God.Tony Dungy's new book Uncommon: Finding Your Path to Significance is coming out in a few weeks and you can find more great life tips from Coach Dungy on his website.