Saturday, April 5, 2014

Book Review: Growing up Colt, by Colt and Brad McCoy

"And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men,"
Colossians 3:23 (Colt McCoy's favorite Bible verse)

[Author's Note: In what can only be described as divine timing, Colt McCoy signed with the Washington Redskins yesterday.]

If you are a Christian, and you were a fan of UT Football during the Colt McCoy years, this book is spiritual crack.  Growing up Colt arose from the demand Colt, and his father Brad, faced as speakers following the Rose Bowl loss in 2010.  Colt's post game comments sparked national interest from people who wondered how a 21 year old kid could have such a solid head on his shoulders.

Growing up Colt is the answer to that question.  The book traces the McCoy family's journey through the small Texas towns in which Brad McCoy coached and Colt grew up.  They went to Church on Wednesday night and twice on Sunday.  Money was tight (57, 136), but they were rich in Christ.  From this environment grew the greatest Quarterback in the history of UT Football.

As a Texas football coach, Brad McCoy's occupation required him to move the family every few years.  Similar to the military, every time a football coach in Texas gets a promotion, it requires a move.  But the moves strengthened the family and deepened their relationship with the Lord.

The most important lesson in Growing up Colt is the value of fundamentals.  Brad McCoy didn't allow Colt to play football until 7th grade because he didn't want Colt to pick up bad habits: "But I wasn't allowed to play Pop Warner football.  That's because Dad was worried someone would teach me the wrong fundamentals and that I'd learn bad habits" (87).  As Brad explained to Colt during a lesson on responsible handling of firearms, "[T]here are no shortcuts to safety" (95).  More important, Colt learned the fundamentals of the Christian faith at a young age.  As Colt writes:
He [Daddy Burl, Colt's grandfather] remained a huge influence in my life, which is why I asked him to Baptize me after my freshman year of high school. I had come to a point in my spiritual life where I wanted to make a confession in Jesus Chirst as my Lord and Savior.


In my fourteen year old mind, there could be nothing more special than having my Daddy Burl baptize me. But I didn't want to slight my father, who was the [Emphasis in original] great spiritual teacher in my life. One day I talked to him about it as we rode around in his truck: "Dad, I would love for you to do it, but I think it would be awesome if Daddy Burl could baptize me.

My dad smiled. "I think it would be awesome, too," he said.

My grandfather was quite moved when I asked him to baptize me, and we set a date and place -- July 8, 2001, at Oldham Lane Church of Christ, our home church in Abeline, which had a baptistry behind the pulpit.

I wore a white robe and Daddy Burl wore chest-high fishing waders as we stepped into the baptistry, filled with water three feet deep. As we prepared for my baptism, Daddy Burl became so emotional that he had trouble talking. After gathering himself, he spoke to me about the seriousness of what I was doing and the importance of staying faithful to the Lord.

The he reached forward and placed one of his strong arms behind my back. Before he lowered me into the water, he said, "I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit for the forgiveness of sins. And with that, I got a dunking.

I popped back up to the surface to the applause and singing of the full Sunday morning church congregation.

The Bible says that when John the Baptist baptized Jesus, a voice from heaven announced in a loud voice, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."

It was my prayer that my life from that day forward would be pleasing to the Lord.
Colt would need those fundamentals at UT.  On the field, Colt led the Longhorns through a period of extended dominanceGrowing up Colt was a nostalgic return to this blogger's first two years in Austin.  It reminded us why we hate Texas Tech oh so much.  And Colt describes, in detail, how he built his house on a rock against the temptations Satan throws at a stud quarterback at UT.

Growing up Colt's biggest shortcoming is that it over-explains obvious points.  For example, on page 137, Colt takes a full paragraph to explain the spread offense.  Earth to Colt: Anyone who makes it to page 137 of a book by a quarterback knows what the spread offense is!!!

But the best part of Growing up Colt is that it closes with the Gospel.  As Colt writes: "When GranJan [Colt's grandmother] heard that Dad and I were writing this book, she said that as far as she was concerned, if we failed to point people toward eternity and God, then it would be a waste of our time.  In 2008, Colt made the following video:

For more information, click here.

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