By: Jan Hathorn
Director of Athletics

"Uncommon" by Tony Dungy

I just read a great book, Uncommon, by Tony Dungy.  It’s a book that Coach Dungy, former head football coach of the Indianapolis Colts, wrote to help people, particularly young men, find and understand their real significance in their life.  Although it is targeted for this certain segment of our society, the book is really for anyone who is either seeking to know what their purpose is in life, or who wants to reflect and reassess if they have found and living their true purpose.

I read the book because I signed up for it as part of the reading colloquium for Science, Society, and the Arts this Friday.  I can’t say why I decided to choose to be part of this book reading – there were so many great books I could have chosen, yet I’m so glad I chose this one. When I finished it, all I could think was, “Boy, I needed that!”

Throughout the book Coach Dungy shares stories of his life as a father, son, husband, friend and coach. His coaching stories caused me to think of some of our coaches as they go through, or wind up, their seasons.  Coaching can be such a roller coaster of emotions – giant highs and lows that can really do a number on the psyche.  Yet, these highs and lows are what make sport so addicting – I like to call it “the drug of sport” – you can’t stay away even when you feel as if you can’t find another way.

At the start of every chapter, Dungy uses quotes to set the stage for his thoughts.  Many of these quotes really hit home to me.  Here are my 10 favorite quotes he used in the book. I believe, as simple as they are, these words of wisdom can really help bring perspective to life, and especially the life of a coach.  If you are someone who is seeking a fresh outlook, or is questioning if you’re in the right business, maybe these quotes will help you, as they did me.  And if you get a chance to read this book, I highly recommend it.  You’ll be glad you did.

1.      Success is measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.  ~Booker T. Washington

2.      Insist upon yourself.  Be original.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

3.      Don’t settle for style. Succeed in substance.  ~Wynton Marsalis

4.      Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.  ~ Robert F. Kennedy

5.      Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.  ~Dr. Seuss

6.      We can’t all be heroes, because somebody has to sit on the curb and clap as they go by.  ~Will Rogers

7.      Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.  ~Thomas Jefferson

8.      Men are respectable as they respect.  ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

9.      It’s faith in something and enthusiasm for something that makes a life worth living.  ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

10.   Do all the good you can, By all the means you can, In all the ways you can, In all the places you can, At all the times you can, To all the people you can, As long as ever you can.  ~John Wesley

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