Thursday, December 13, 2012

Review # 257: Men of Sunday - How Faith Guides the Players, Coaches, and Wives of the NFL By Curtis Eichelberger

Description: (book jacket)
Step into the locker rooms and living rooms of NFL players and their families to see how a close relationship with God guides football's biggest stars! 
     In a behind-the-scenes, off-the-field glimpse into one of America's most beloved sports, "Men of Sunday" reveals how Sunday's greatest rely on God to face issues such as drug abuse, family crisis, injuries, and temptations resulting from fame and fortune. Compiled from dozens of interviews, Men of Sunday marks the intersection of two Sunday traditions: faith and football. Inspired by the league's "systemic shift" toward embracing Christianity, Bloomberg writer Curtis Eichelberger shows how God is a source of comfort when facing the unique challenges of life in the NFL and the everyday challenges of maintaining strong families and building character. 
     Featured personalities include Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, New York Jets running back LaDainian Tomlinson, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Former Chicago Bears middle linebacker Mike Singletary, Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, Former Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy, San Diego Chargers pastor Shawn Mitchell, Danisha Rolle, wife of former Tennessee and Baltimore defensive back Samari Rolle, and many more...


      Being a resident of Maryland, I am quite partial to the Baltimore Ravens (NFL) team, so when I saw a book that mentioned Ray Lewis, I was definitely intrigued! Ray Lewis is one of the team's driving forces, always cheering on and motivating teammates on and off the field. There's not a game where spectators don't see him pep-talking players, or leading them in a team prayer, which has earned him the respect and adoration of his fans, as well as some of his teammates. Besides the team prayers, I had never really pondered the connections between football and faith - two seemingly unrelated topics - but Men of Sunday put them into perspective, providing further evidence that God is with us in everything we do.
     I expected to read a Christian sports biography of sorts when I first received the book, but with so many NFL players included, I was not sure how it would be set up. I was surprised to learn that Men of Sunday was more of a professional athlete's guide to staying a faithful Christian throughout the ups-and-downs of a career in the NFL. Although I may not be a professional athlete, I appreciated getting to know the "human side" of the players I watch on the field every week. Their stories stretched a variety of emotions and topics, including aspects of their home and NFL lives. I liked reading the chapters about the families of the players, as well as their coaches; it was interesting to see how God played a role in their daily lives on and off the football field. Curtis Eichelberger detailed the players' ability to glorify the Lord, play a violent game, make family sacrifices, overcome adversity and temptation, make transitions, follow God's plan, and provide leadership. I found the material easy-to-read, honest, and valuable to any readers, whether athletes or not. Great behind the scenes look at the NFL and the faith that builds the game and the league as a whole. Recommended to Christian readers and athletes who are curious about the faith behind the game.

Rating: On the Run (4/5)

*** I received this book from the author (BookSneeze) in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

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