It’s time for a confession. Despite being a woman, I have been an avid fan of the NFL since I was just a little girl. My dad never had boys so in a sense I became the boy he never had. We would sometimes play catch together and would always watch sports on the weekends, from basketball to baseball. But football was always my greatest sports obsession. Though I lived on the west coast I fell in love with my dad’s favorite east coast teams (where he was from) and to this day I loathe the San Francisco 49ers and love the Pittsburgh Steelers. So, when I saw Men of Sunday, I knew it was a book I needed to review. Anytime faith and football is combined, my interest is peaked, and I love learning about Christian athletes who outwardly testify their love for God. My hopes were not disappointed.
Men of Sunday is written by Curtis Eichelberger, a sports writer for Bloomberg. It recounts a wide variety of personal faith testimonies from Christian NFL athletes like Aaron Rodgers, Ray Lewis and Trent Dilfer. The book deals with an assortment of every-day issues from raising kids to health crisis.
As a backseat football player (you know, calling plays from the couch) I’ve never felt as if I could relate to these guys who are often seen with beautiful women hanging on their arms and millions of dollars in the bank. It’s easy to think their fame and fortune gives them an easy ride in life, but Curtis dispels that myth in Men of Sunday. Whether Christian or not, NFL players deal with real life issues just like we do. They worry about job security, suffer personal losses, encounter temptation, and make poor choices with lasting consequences.
A few things really surprised me in the reading of this book. I expected it to be more of a biography about Christian guys playing football, but it was so much more. I found myself actually learning lessons from what these guys had to say. One of my favorite quotes was from Trent Dilfer (former NFL quarterback and current sports analyst for ESPN) during an interview about the loss of his five-year-old son (which was a candidly honest and emotional read):
“If the motivation for your faith is what’s going on in the seventy-five or ninety years we have here on earth, then you are missing the truth of God’s promises. What God promises is eternity. This is not our home.” (pg. 95)
And of course I loved reading the nuggets of wisdom from Ray Lewis, who I’ve enjoyed watching from the beginning of his career.
“To be a leader you’ve got to be willing to serve others. Learn your job and become excellent at it. Then seek to help others…what comes first? Servitude.” (pg. 203)
Overall I found Men of Sunday to be refreshing and encouraging. It was inspiring to learn what role Christianity plays amongst a large number of NFL athletes, and it also encouraged me to grow in my own spiritual life. Probably the biggest “aha” moment for me was learning about the heartaches and trials that go with fame and fortune and how much harder it really is to live a life devoted to Christ in such an environment. I can’t imagine what it would feel like to have my personal drama splattered all over newspapers and magazines, especially considering much of it probably would not be true.
Men of Sunday is a great book for the Christian NFL lover in your family. Even if you don’t watch football, you would be inspired by the stories of faith, perseverance, failure, loss, and redemption. The biblical truths are applicable to all walks of life. So, stop reading this review and go get your copy!
Men of Sunday was published by Thomas Nelson and released in August 2012. I believe in this book so much I am including a link to Amazon to purchase it (and no, I don’t get any money for that!) Click HERE to view on amazon.
(I received Men of Sunday by Curtis Eichelberger from Booksneeze for review purposes only. I was not required to give a positive review and the opinions here are strictly my own.)