Game Changer: Faith, Football, & Finding Your Way, by Kirk Cousins
[Note: This book was provided for free by BookLook/Zondervan Press in exchange for an honest review.]
Many would-be readers of this particular book may not be familiar with Kirk Cousins and so may not see what is worthwhile or interesting about this book. For those who are not aware, Kirk Cousins is a quarterback for the Washington Redskins who was asked to write this book as a result of his articulate Big 10 Media Day speech in 2011 before his last year of college at Michigan State, where he was an immensely successful quarterback. This book, which appears to have been written without a co-author or ghost writer, is an immensely articulate book that deals with divine providence in all walks of life, although the author offers many stories from his own rich and complicated personal history in ways that would encourage many people as his writing encouraged me.
This particular book is not at all the book that I expected it to be. I expected it to be something like Sidelined , and there are some similarities, including a great deal of candor and a strong foundation of mainstream Christian faith. That said, this is a distinctive book in that it is not written as the diary of a season, or really organized chronologically, but is rather organized thematically in such a way that football serves not as the basis of organization for the story but rather the material for use to show a larger point . That larger point is immensely encouraging, especially given the stage of life I am at. The author’s points are straightforward–discipline and character are not necessarily fun but they are worth it, success depends on having a good support system of friends and loved ones that encourage our best behavior and wish us to be better than we are, and having a firm foundation in God keeps our attitude from being determined by our circumstances. The author also makes a few strong and pointed comments about the benefit of difficulties, and the author keeps an honest but modest approach throughout.
What is refreshing as well is that Cousins does not consider himself to be the game changer, nor is the “game” that is changed necessarily football, but rather the game is life. Sometimes this has to do with football, as in making the decisions not to get involved with drugs and partying, which led one of his friends and high school classmates to an early death from a drug overdose, and at other times it is the positive example of an older player that led him to influence cultural change in building a community at Michigan State, and at other times it is preserving the right attitude in difficult circumstances like season-ending injuries as well as finding oneself in difficult and awkward situations. Cousins’ writing is honest and straightforward, reflecting on deep areas of divine providence and on striving to see God’s plan and direction even in the midst of life’s complications and difficulties. As a short book full of rich stories and strong analysis, this book demonstrates that no matter what happens in the rest of Cousins’ football career, he appears to have a good idea about what it takes to live life well, and the support of his family and past and present coaches (one of whom wrote the book’s foreword), which bodes well for his development of his talents in speaking and writing, and his serious approach to both football and life. The chapters of this book begin with scriptural quotes or quotes from others about the Bible, and that is a nice touch to a book that will encourage and inspire many people who might not know that much about its author until they read this candid and thoughtful book.
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