Ah, Jared's Java. Pleasant taste. Slight Monsterism.

Welcome to the home of my mind, where I brew my intellectual and spiritual joe. Sit back and let me pour you a cup or two. I promise not to cut you off, even after you get the caffeine jitters.

Monday, February 05, 2007

The Right Man For The Job

The Bucaneers didn't think he could cut it. In spite of the fact that he completely turned the team around from constant losers to division contenders, Tampa Bay fired Tony Dungy in 2002. They just thought he could never win the big one. Maybe it's the fact that he never raises his voice at his players. Maybe it was the way he conducted himself, with character qualities like humility and gentle love. Maybe they just got greedy and wanted more now and weren't sure he could deliver it. So they fired Tony and brought in John Gruden. Gruden took the team that Dungy had assembled to the Superbowl and won the very next year. Then, the Bucs started to slide. Now, with John Gruden, they are back to where they were before they hired Tony Dungy. The last I saw of Tony was on the winner's podium at Superbowl XLI.

Tony Dungy is a true class act. I know that it is easy to say that coaches or teams deserve it, but even the commentators on ESPN noted that and said that Tony really does deserve it.

Much was made of him and Lovie Smith being the first two black head coaches to take teams to the Superbowl, yet when Tony got to the podium he didn't allow that fact "overshadow" what he really valued. The guy interviewing him mentioned it, and Tony said that he was honored to be the first black head coach to win the Superbowl, but he said that the most important thing to him was showing the world that coaching the Lord's way (as he referred to it) could produce championship teams. I referred to it earlier. He is gentle with his men. He doesn't scream or yell or throw fits when his guys don't do what he wants them to. He mentors and disciples them. All of them asked said that they wanted to win the big one for Tony because they love and respect him. Wow.

Many thank God after a big win. It seems pretty popular to do. I wouldn't question the genuineness of many players' faith, mostly because I don't care too much to know about the personal lives of those guys. I have a real life of my own, and I don't care to waste it on studying the lives of current professional sports stars. But Tony thanked God for giving the Colts the victory, and even the commentators spent minutes of air time (not seconds, minutes) talking about how a lot of players/coaches say that after a big win, but that it really, really meant something coming from Tony.

In all this, let it not be lost that Lovie Smith, the head coach of the Chicago Bears (the losing team) was a disciple of Tony's. Tony hired Lovie ten years ago as an assistant in Tampa Bay. The men became good friends, and they share a common faith in Christ. Lovie coaches much like Tony, and just like him in the sense that he never raises his voice at his players. Lovie and Tony spent every free minute they had this last week together, celebrating what they had achieved together. They both made strong statements before the game that no matter who won that they would still love each other and that they would be great friends, always. After the loss, Lovie said something to the effect that he was happy for Tony and that there was no one he would rather lose to.

Both men are awesome guys, but I was really pulling for Tony. I wanted this for him real bad, because in early December 2005, just before a hot play-off season with great expectations for the Colts, his oldest son, James (I believe), committed suicide by shooting himself in the head. You could see how it devestated the entire team. They wanted to win it all for Tony, bad. You could see how they loved him. Tony said, giving his son's eulogy, that God is there, even in the times of great pain. And you could see he meant that. Tony loves his kids, and they are involved in his coaching life, too. James had been a ball boy and involved with equipment stuff at Tampa Bay and Indy. His wife and kids are frequent visitors to the facilities, proving that stuff like that can be a strength in football, not a distraction as so many coaches and general managers label it.

In short: Tony deserved this, big time. He is a consistent man of consistent faith and constant love. A commentator said that he is a great representative to make this first big step for "African-American" coaches. He quickly followed that up with that more importantly he is a wonderful role-model for all men of any color. I have carped much about my desire to be discipled. I think if I could have one thing asked and granted on this earth, it would be to be discipled in my faith and life by Tony Dungy. It is more than just rhetoric with him. He truly is "God's man in football."

Mike Holmgren, the coach for my team, the Seattle Seahawks, is a man of great faith too. He and his family are huge supporters of Northwest Medical Teams, and his wife and daughter go on missions with them frequently (as a matter of fact, they were on a mission when the Seahawks played in the Superbowl last year). I'll be pulling for him or Lovie to take the Lombardi trophy home next year now that the man I most revere is getting his moment in the sun.


Niki said...

Amen brother!!!

Benny said he wished you lived closer so you could have come over to watch the game together.

Thanks for the plug at the top of your page! The car is now working again thanks to our friend Joe. My minivan still sits there, but Benny is going to tackle it again today. Thanks for the prayers, support, and encouragement you and Jen keep lavishing on us! We are grateful to you more than words can express! Our phone calls on Friday lifted both our spirits. For Benny not liking to talk on the phone, you two sure did talk and laugh a long time. Thank You J!

majeau13 said...

I couldn't agree more with you man.

Dungy is the man. It feels good when you see someone who deserves to win, actually win.

Seeing an athlete or coach finally win one is awesome to see.

An example that comes to mind is Ray Bourque (I know you don't follow hockey, but stay with me).

He spent his whole career with the Boston Bruins, but never won a Stanley Cup. With 2 years left in his career, he jumped to Colorado, a Cup favorite. They came just short his first year in Colorado, but the next year, they won it all. When the captain went to recieve the cup, he took the stereotypical picture with the league commissioner, but after that, gave the Cup staright to Ray.

Moments like that are burned into my memory. Mr.Dungy's victory will now join that selective group.

Amen, Brother!

Looney Mom said...

That is a great testimony. I'm so glad he won. It was a GREAT win. I loved the game.

Jennifer said...

I really loved this post, Jared! I quoted you (entirely) on our church blog because I thought it was good enough to share with others. Great writing!

I'm not even a fan of football and I enjoyed reading it...haha!


Crystal said...

Hey! I had to come by since you came to visit me and this seemed like the perfect post to comment on. Yeah, I live in the great state of Indiana--so come on over and congratulate us!

Don't forget that Peyton Manning is also a fellow brother in Christ, too. And it was just a great game, wasn't it?

Thank you for the nice comments on my blog and I'll be back to check on you--one of my four boys is named Jared.

Keep on blogging!

Dapoppins said...

who are these people you are talking about? Is this sports? Are you talking about baseball?

angi said...

I couldn't agree with you more. Coach Dungy is an incredible man and has done so much for our city. It's awesome to see a Christian man not only succeed in this way but use that platform to praise God and profess his faith. We are proud of both him and the team leaders like Manning.
Thanks for this post, Jared.