The subtitle of Remember Why You Play by David Thomas is a bit of an understatement: Faith, Football, and a Season to Believe. It is so much more than another football book.
I picked up this book because I had heard the story about the Faith Christian Lions playing against the Gainesville State Tornadoes in 2008. Gainesville State is a maximum-security juvenile detention facility, and Faith Christian is a squeaky-clean Christian high school. Yet the Faith team and fans handled this game in an unbelievable way. Kris Hogan, Faith’s head coach, asked the Faith parents to cheer for the Gainesville players… to cheer against their own sons. These incredible families responded in the most loving, Christ-honoring way, leaving an indelible impact on the 14 Tornado players dressed for that game.
But, as David Thomas said, you have to go back to look at the Lions’ 2007 season to truly understand why a team — a whole school — would respond this way.
Kris Hogan is a highly successful coach in the state of Texas where football is king. Because of his success on the field, he has been offered positions at other schools, making a lot more money than Faith Christian can pay him. But he continues to coach at Faith because he believes that is where God has placed him. And because he believe that, he is much more than an Xs and Os football coach.
Football is simply the backdrop to the life lessons Coach Hogan is trying to teach his players. He views it as his mission to prepare these young men for life after high school, so football games and practices just become the means by which he can apply the valuable lessons.
Sports fans will definitely enjoy this book, as will any current or former football players or coaches. But I also believe parents of teenagers and even youth pastors will find a lot of life lessons in Remember Why You Play to pass on to the young men in their lives.
I am a Tyndale book reviewer.