Using examples of how he developed the players of Manassas, perennial losers on the football field and similarly lacking in opportunity in the rest of their lives, Courtney gives his thoughts on the characteristics that make the most of people, and empower people to make the most of the abilities they have. He extols the virtues of developing a ‘faith in the power of the individual to summon the will to be the best person he or she can be.’
Running through a selection of personal qualities and ideals that have helped Courtney in life and in business, the chapters appear as though a blueprint to becoming the ideal person. This is all well and good but can leave the reader feeling slightly unworthy as they read through, but this is countered by Courtney’s assertion that he learned the hard way about adopting some of these qualities himself.
Some of the ideals appear old fashioned or quaint to modern eyes, but they sufficient to resonate and provide food for thought; the tale of Jackie Smith staging her long standing protest outside the National Civil Rights museum in Memphis, employees overcoming drug addiction and a criminal life to build a successful career, the life consequences for two men involved in a neck breaking collision on the field, the ability to rise above the almost overwhelming helplessness of deprivation and tough circumstances to make it to college.
His business success also provides numerous examples to illustrate these qualities, and while occasionally there’s a venture towards the dangerous “success manual” ground of “here’s the risk I took. You could do the same” that would be to misinterpret the intention of the book. It’s not a success manual as such, more a guide to the values that have helped Courtney in his life, work and play.
These values are of course worthy, and are all highlighted with countless examples from the arenas of sports, business and the home. From a sporting point of view, Courtney’s views on coaching as a means of developing the person as well as the player is described thus: ‘It starts with believing that players win games and coaches win players.’ The need to be a leader in all aspects rather than merely a sporting coach is key to his philosophy.
Sticking to the sporting viewpoint, there are numerous tales of High School footballers Courtney has coached over the years, and the way their character developed on and off the field aided by the coaching, support and leadership he was able to give them. It’s about these characteristics helping in life rather than necessarily helping to produce sporting superstars. As Courtney says regarding the Oscar winning film referred to throughout that ‘The whole point of the documentary "Undefeated" wasn’t that the players and Manassas were undefeated in the field; it was that they were undefeated by their circumstances.’
- Aidan Williams http://thesportsbookreview.com
Publisher - Weinstein Books
Date of Publication - May 13, 2014