I think you all know I like football. The closest I've ever come to being "die hard" though is probably with the Indianapolis Colts, since I grew up in Indiana. That allegiance was tested, however, last year when the Colts played the Saints in the Super Bowl. You see, there is this guy named Drew.
Before Drew ripped his shoulder apart when he was playing for the San Diego Chargers, was cast aside as ruined, then picked up by New Orleans, an equally ruined city, he played for Purdue University. Purdue is only about 20 minutes from where I grew up, and Drew was our shining star. He took us to the Rose Bowl in 2001 (which my husband and I attended), our first in something like 68 years. Drew is our claim to fame, and we love him. To see him come back from a potentially career-ending injury and lead the hapless Saints to the Super Bowl was a story that America could get behind, and one I certainly had to support, Colts or not.
Drew came to Purdue last summer on a book tour when I was visiting my parents, and my mom was hellbound and determined we were going to get a signed book. It was an absolute melee. I eventually sent my parents and my kids on to more thrilling adventures, and I sat in a corner and read my Kindle, awaiting my turn to be near his greatness and dudeness.
*Sigh* So where was I? Oh, yes, the book. Whether you give a hoot about football or not, this is one you must read. Seriously. Drew's story is a captivating one.
Synopsis: Great high school football career, until he suffered an injury in his junior year. Busted tail to rehabilitate. He was recruited late by Purdue, and ultimately led them to the Rose Bowl. Met the girl of his dreams at Purdue and married her. Developed a deep spiritual connection with his Christian faith. Recruited by the Chargers, fought to be starting QB against the great Doug Flutie. Messed up his shoulder and was dropped like a bad habit. Busted tail to rehabilitate. Unproven since the injury, he was welcomed with open arms by a city that was recently devastated by Hurricane Katrina. In a matter of only a few years, during which his mother committed suicide, he took the losing team to the Super Bowl and won. Guys, it gives me chills. (Wonder how San Diego feels now?)
My thoughts: These days, it seems very difficult to find a celebrity that lives up to our expectations. They always seem to end up being human and letting us down. I hope and pray that Drew is not going to fall into this category, but rise up above all the cheating and gambling and illegitimate children and underage girls and addictions and give America someone to believe in. If anyone can do it, he can.
I was impressed with his goodness (saintliness?) - his drive to battle adversity, to give back to the community that so warmly embraced him when everyone else turned their backs, his solid Christian faith, and his humility. There is some serious power in this book that each one of us could put to good use, whether you blow out your knee, lose your job, lose a loved one, or just have a really crappy day:
"But in a strange way, I am actually thankful for that injury (in high school), in that it allowed me to learn how to face adversity at a young age. Would I quit, or would I fight through it? From my perspective, it's when the rug gets pulled out from under you that you really find your calling in life. Those defining moments don't have to be tragedies. When they're viewed through the lens of God's plans, they can be points of purpose in your life."
The prose is surprisingly conversational and easy to read. I don't know how much of that is Drew and how much is Fabry, but it was compelling. Some of his pearls of wisdom could be perceived as trite or corny, but in the voice that delivers these messages, you can hear his earnestness. Everything he said made a whole lot of sense, and I was deeply moved.
But it isn't all a big motivational speech either. He talks about his toxic relationship with his mother. His biggest mistakes on and off the field. The town of New Orleans and their loyal fans, and all about that "Who Dat" thing. The vital chemistry of team. Coaches that have touched his life. His marriage, and his young son. And overall he seems very grounded and positive. This is a guy that we would want as a role model for our children.
I love me a good, dysfunctional memoir, but this was a breath of fresh air. It is nice to be lifted up once in awhile, and finish a book feeling like you want to do something, make a difference, and believe in the power of a positive attitude. Drew, you're the man.
5 out of 5 stars