Title: Playing For More
Author: Case Keenum with Andrew Perloff (Forward by Tony Dungy)
Genre: Sports Non-Fiction/Christian Living
Publishing Date: September 4, 2018
About the Book:
Case Keenum has traveled one of the most unique paths in the NFL. Recruited by just one college, undrafted, and released three times, Case has overcome every obstacle to become a successful starting quarterback. In 2017, Keenum captured America’s imagination by leading the Minnesota Vikings to a 13-3 record and an NFC North title. His game-winning touchdown in the final seconds of their divisional playoff game against the Saints, the “Minneapolis Miracle,” made Case part of NFL history.
Keenum shares stories from every stage of his life, starting out as a ball boy for his father’s college team in West Texas, going on to win a state title in high school, and rewriting the NCAA record book at the University of Houston. A devastating knee injury almost derailed his football career, but helped him get closer to the woman who would soon become his wife.
Throughout his story, Case will explain how being a Christian helped him navigate the winding path to success. No matter what obstacle has been placed in front of him, Case believes God has a plan for him. That’s why he plays football and that’s why he’s writing this book: To glorify God and to help others who face adversity in their everyday life.
“Am I a football player who happens to be a Christian?” Case writes, “No, I’m a Christian who happens to be a football player. That’s my calling. That’s my defining characteristic. Once I realized that, everything else fell into place. I became a better football player and, more importantly, a better person.”
I am a die-hard Colts fan. Which is why I was sad to lose Manning to the Broncos, and even sadder when he retired completely. While my favorite team hasn’t changed, I at least have what I’ll call a “soft spot” for the Broncos. I play fantasy football in a few leagues (all just for fun–no money involved), and happen to have Case Keenum as my QB on one of them. While his individual points could be higher, it’s not a bad start to the season to be 2-0.
My absolute favorite part of this book is Keenum’s emphasis on the fact that he is a Christian first, and an athlete second. Several times throughout the book he says the phrase “I’m not a football player who happens to be Christian. I’m a Christian who happens to play football.” He intentionally throughout the book gives God the glory in his life and makes it a point to emphasize God’s will over his own. He had a long road to the NFL, but he is grateful for the humility it produced in him. He has built strong Christian relationships with players from each team he has been on. His hope is that his faith is visible to all around him, and that they will look to Christ as well.
Another part that stuck with me was the mission trip that Keenum went on with a few other players and their wives. He said:
“…no one even cared that we were professional football players. It wasn’t even worth explaining that I held the all-time college football passing record. I realized that, frankly, those things really didn’t matter. What mattered to them was not my accomplishments or my accolades–it was my heart. It mattered that I was there, in their world, loving, teaching, playing, and praying with them” (Pg 136).
Isn’t that an awesome perspective to have? How often do we see our own accomplishments as praiseworthy and seek the praise and approval of others? Often athletes are put on a pedestal just as movie stars and musicians are. But Keenum makes the point that all of it is worth nothing if you don’t have Christ. The biggest goal one can have in this life is to have a relationship with Christ and to live for Him.
Despite Keenum’s sharing of his faith throughout the book, it’s also important to enjoy football if expecting to really get into the book. There is a lot of name-dropping and technical terms used throughout. I found his journey interesting to read, but I am also a big fan of football. I actually watched several of the games he talks about in the book. It was interesting for me to see his perspective on the events.
This book has definitely caused me to have a deeper appreciation for Case Keenum not only as a player, but as a fellow brother in Christ. His desire to give God the glory in everything he does and to keep his eyes fixed on Him, is refreshing to see in his current position. Unfortunately in today’s world, many stars in the limelight are only concerned with their own fame and spreading their approval for the things of this world instead of the things of above. The fact that Keenum sees his role as a platform to share Jesus with the world instead of praise his own fame, is a testament in itself. The world needs more of that. I’m thrilled I had the opportunity to read this book, and I absolutely highly recommend it.
*I received a copy of this book through B&H Publishers. I was not required to give a positive review. Thoughts and opinions expressed are mine alone.