When an Oklahoma football fan can become so engrossed in a book written by a former Texas Longhorn quarterback (one who, no less, defeated the Sooners three of the four years he was at the helm), that he tells his friends about it … well, you know it must be good.
That was my reaction to Colt McCoy’s (with Matt Carter) new book, “The Real Win: A Man’s Quest for Authentic Success,” which details the talented quarterback’s quest for success in life, not just on the football field.
It’s a message he can deliver. An already talented McCoy took over for national champion quarterback Vince Young in 2006 and proceeded to win more football games over the next four years than any college signal-caller had ever done. He didn’t manage that by just showing up and flashing his famous smile. He did it through sheer hard work, discipline and a commitment to excellence in every single area of his life.
His writing partner and friend, Carter, pastors a huge church in Austin, and both men are dedicated family men who know whereof they speak, as they say.
Their aim is to show men that a truly authentic life is achievable, and among the gems in this book is their contention that each man is meant to be a leader. That should settle some minds who wonder in the shadows if their “uneventful life” really matters. One doesn’t have to be a glittery football player to lead, and McCoy and Carter deliver the mail on setting down parameters for being a great husband, father and career person.
In Chapter 3, “Willing to Lead,” they confront some tough issues for men, among them anger and a tendency to control and dominate. Imagine the dreary lives of many women who exist in such households. That reality isn’t close to good enough for McCoy and Carter, who challenge men with a (doable) laundry list of daily homework.
For example, the authors describe the sins of emotional and spiritual absence: “This is the guy who’s dependable. He’s a good guy. He’s not going to cheat on his wife or beat her or leave her destitute. But his wife cannot remember the last time he took her face in his hands and told her, ‘You are the most amazing woman I have ever known.’ He’s physically present, but he’s emotionally not there.
“This is the dad,” they continue, “whose kids don’t know what it’s like to crawl up in his lap and fall asleep, or to roll around on the ground with him and act crazy and be chased and tickled. This dad’s kids don’t know what it’s like to have their father tuck them in at night and have him pray for them and read Scripture, because he’s got some important television shows he needs to watch. This guy’s wife doesn’t know what it’s like to be spiritually led by her husband. He’s expecting his pastor to do it. So he never reads the Bible with her or prays with her or talks about spiritual matters or sets an example of spiritual maturity for her.”
Tough stuff, but necessary. And in common language that is unvarnished, McCoy and Carter demonstrate that they know what they’re talking about. They live this life of a higher calling, as it were. It means something to them to not be average in any area. Or, at least they strive for that.
The authors also have a gift for humor, even when discussing serious issues, such as avoiding having a wandering eye.
As McCoy relates: “I quickly found that a college quarterback tends to attract a certain amount of attention from members of the opposite sex.”
That’s good stuff, but the wisdom and life lessons McCoy and Carter set forth in “The Real Win” are not unattainable for guys who don’t lead glamorous lives.
For example, listen to this: “According to the Bible, then, your temptation all starts in your heart. You want something outside of God’s best for your life and think that thing will provide exactly what you need. It’s bad for you or it doesn’t belong to you, but you want it anyway. Temptation isn’t sin in and of itself. Temptation turns into sin only when you go after what you wrongfully desire.”
“The Real Win” wins big on so many levels, not the least of which is the readability. A common excuse from guys is that they don’t read, or whatever. The reader of this book can’t use that as an excuse, because the book really does feel like a conversation between guys sitting at a sports bar in downtown Austin. Just guys talking about life and how to navigate through it. From dealing with a boss, to figuring out right priorities, to recognizing who you are in light of your Creator –McCoy and Carter have found the right strategy for winning at this tough game known as life.
A marvelous resource for the man in your life who seems unapproachable. Why, it even makes a body want to say… Hook’em!