Super Bowl Champion Quarterback Brees Ties His Trials to His Triumphs
When most teams win a championship their fans celebrate for a brief period afterward and the psychological impact on their hometowns is fleeting. That's not the case with the New Orleans Saints' Super Bowl victory earlier this year.
The Saints' win boosted the morale of that city and represented a tremendous comeback story for New Orleans, the Saints and the team's quarterback Drew Brees.
Rather than writing a conventional memoir, Brees instead chose to use the experience as a teachable moment and offers a great deal of advice on how to engineer your own turnaround.
It is a formula that works in Coming Back Stronger: Unleashing the Hidden Power of Adversity, in part because Brees comes across as not only a talented football player but a genuinely decent guy
As an added bonus for the credit union movement, he even highlights the work of Purdue Employees Federal Credit Union with his foundation in running the Purdue Athletes Life Success Program. It is an annual camp run on the campus of Purdue University (Brees' alma mater) in West Lafayette, Ind., that uses sports to teach area young people life skills. Purdue Employees FCU helps fund the program-which is for children ages 8 to 14-and provides financial literacy education to participants. The program's website is www.cla.purdue.edu/hk/PALS. Brees also acts as a spokesman for a money skills program put together by Visa.
His foundation took over the program when it was in danger of losing federal funding because Brees recalls having "seen research about how positively this camp was impacting the kids long-term and we didn't want to let it die."
Although Brees has done a great deal of philanthropic work, he doesn't spend a great deal of time blowing his own horn. Instead, he devotes most of the book talking about some of his setbacks, including growing up in a broken home and suffering a potentially career-ending shoulder injury. A parallel story is the comeback of New Orleans following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.
Brees wasn't with the Saints when the hurricane hit in 2005. However, when he joined the team the next year the city was still reeling, and he became actively involved in the city's rebuilding effort and by helping the Saints improve.
The Saints also offered him a second chance. He was recovering from major reconstructive surgery on his shoulder and was dropped by his former team, the San Diego Chargers.
One piece of advice he offers for dealing with challenges such as these is devise a way to transform your beliefs into concrete actions that help you lead by example.
"The way I see it, belief isn't enough on its own. Once you know the truth you have to act on it. That's where real faith has legs." he writes. "Faith is a gift from God, but it's also a responsibility."
His other advice includes: Find a mentor; don't give up; turn your defeats into triumphs; dream; hope; be flexible; and finish strong.
In addition, football fans will enjoy his first-person recollections of some of the more memorable games in his college and professional careers.
As a result, Coming Back Stronger is an inspirational and enjoyable book. You will learn things, get ideas for improving your life and have fun doing it. As Ira Gershwin famously wondered: Who could ask for anything more?