Against the Grain: A Coach's Wisdom on Character, Faith, Family, and Love

Against the Grain: A Coach's Wisdom on Character, Faith, Family, and Love

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Against the Grain: A Coach's Wisdom on Character, Faith, Family, and Love by Bill Courtney

In AGAINST THE GRAIN, Bill Courtney shares his convictions on the fundamental tenets of character, commitment, service, leadership, civility, and others that, in his decades of success as an entrepreneur and educator, have proven to be the keys to a winning and meaningful life and career. Each chapter tells the story of one of these tenets through compelling anecdotes of the colorful characters in Bill's life, leading to a deeper understand of the meaning of each and how to employee these fundamentals in all aspects of one's life. Against the Grain intertwines inspiring and thought-provoking anecdotes, lessons, and amazing real life examples. Bill's passion for us all to reconsider our own approach to life and constantly improve upon it comes across on every page.

About the Film:
Set against the backdrop of a high school football season, Dan Lindsay and T.J. Martin's documentary Undefeated is an intimate chronicle of three underprivileged student-athletes from inner-city Memphis and the volunteer coach trying to help them beat the odds on and off the field.

Founded in 1899, Manassas High School in North Memphis had never seen its football team, the Tigers, win a playoff game. In recent decades, the last-place Tigers had gone so far as to sell its regular season games to rival schools looking to chalk up an easy win.

That began to change in 2004, when Bill Courtney, former high school football coach turned businessman, volunteered to lend a hand. When Courtney arrived, the Tigers were accustomed to timeworn equipment and a sorry patch of lawn as a practice field. Focusing on nurturing emotional as well as physical strength, Courtney helped the Tigers find their footing and their confidence.

The 2009 Summer/Fall football season promised to be the Tigers' best ever — perhaps the season that finally breaks the 110 year-old playoff jinx. It was the senior year for the team's star player, O.C., a left tackle blessed with power, size and speed. With football scholarships hanging in the balance, O.C. juggles practice with the study sessions he needs to pass crucial exams. Also playing his last season is undersized offensive lineman Montrail – known to all as “Money” — an earnest honors student hoping to score an academic scholarship. For Chavis, a talented linebacker in his junior year, the challenge of 2009 lies in keeping his explosive temper in check — something the willful teenager isn't always interested in doing.

For players and coaches alike, the 2009 season was not only about winning games — it was about grappling with the unforeseeable events that are part of football and part of life.

After debuting to critical acclaim at South by Southwest in 2011, The Weinstein Company won a fierce bidding war to acquire distribution and remake rights to the film. The film's wide release was met with widespread critical and popular acclaim, culminating in the 2011 Academy Awards, where Undefeated won the Oscar for Best Documentary. Plans for a feature film remake are currently in motion.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781602862807
Publisher: Hachette Books
Publication date: 10/06/2015
Edition description: First Trade Paper Edition
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 508,776
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.70(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Bill Courtney is a volunteer football coach and the owner and operator of Classic American Hardwoods, a 45 million lumber company and sitting board member of the prestigious Society of Entrepreneurs. He is a sought-after motivational speaker and consultant for organizations such as Nike, Pepsico, the USOC Paralympic Leadership Conference, the FedEx Leadership Live Conference, and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Courtney lives with his wife and four children in Memphis, Tennessee.

Michael Arkush has written 12 books, including Rush! and The Fight of The Century. He and his wife, Pauletta Walsh, live in Oak View, California.

Table of Contents

Foreword Phil Jackson ix

Preface xiii

1 On the Value of Character 1

2 The Meaning of Commitment 17

3 Daring to Leave Your Comfort Zone 29

4 Service Is Not Someone Else's Job 45

5 How Leaders Are Denned 63

6 The Search for Civility 81

7 The Power of Dreams 97

8 The Relationship between Fear and Fortitude 115

9 Perseverance Never Takes a Break 129

10 The Dignity of Hard Work 143

11 Standing on a Firm Foundation 157

12 Responsibility for the Taking 171

13 Grace Appears in a Forgiving Heart 185

14 The Gift of a Legacy 199

Acknowledgments 207

Index 211

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Against the Grain: A Coach's Wisdom on Character, Faith, Family, and Love 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
MinTwinsNY More than 1 year ago
Rating:   4 1/2 of 5 stars (excellent) Review: Bill Courtney gained fame and recognition as the assistant coach in the Oscar-winning documentary “Undefeated” about a Memphis high school football team that became a winning program through hard work, faith and the teachings of a volunteer part-time coach.  That coach was Courtney who also turned an abandoned piece of property into a thriving business.  These successes helped Courtney decide to write this book in order to “coach” even more people on his vies of character, faith and family. In the book, Courtney shares his values and reasons for his success in small doses.  He shares many stories about his players at Manassas, his employees, his family and himself on many topics that other books of this nature will cover: hard work, keeping one’s word, service to others, dreams, responsibility and other similar topics. While reading the book, the reader will be caught up in the moment and feel the joy of success or the occasional heartbreak of failure as Courtney’s subject will either learn a valuable lesson or at times even make Courtney stop and think that maybe he could learn from the player or employee. My favorite story in the book is an example of Courtney pausing for a moment and thinking about these values he is trying to teach his players.  I believe that makes the message that he is trying to deliver even more powerful, as it shows we all have room for growth in these areas.   In the chapter about service, Courtney was having trouble connecting with his players and speaks privately to one of the seniors on the team, asking what he needs to do in order to get the team to listen to him. The player simply said to keep doing what he was doing.  Pressing for details, the player eventually told the coach that the team was trying to figure out if he was a “turkey person.”   The player went on to explain that he and his teammates would often see  “folks who look just like you” drop off turkeys and other gifts and then leave, never to be seen again.   Courtney’s players were trying to figure out if he was a turkey person, according to this player. It made Courtney reassess how he was coming across to his team and as a result, the team responded by playing some of its best football.   Stories like that make this book a terrific read for anyone looking for a little positive news, for some uplifting and helpful advice or just some nice stories on football and life.  I wish to thank the publisher for providing an advance review copy in exchange for an honest review.  Did I skim? No.   Pace of the book:   Because the stories are fairly short, consistent throughout the book and are varied in topic, the reader will fly through the book.  While I didn’t read it at one sitting due to other commitments, the total time to read all 206 pages was not very long at all.     Book Format Read: Paperback
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bill Courtney writes, like he lives his life, from the heart.   The young men Bill coached at Manassas were ultimate authenticators of Bill's values.  Edgar Guest, in his poem, "Sermons We See", rightly notes that most of us would "rather see a sermon than hear one any day" and that the "best of all preachers are the men who live there creeds for to see good put in action is what everybody needs."  Having coached with Bill at Manassas, I can attest to the fact that Bill walked his walk and that the values of character, commitment, discipline and servant leadership espoused in Against the Grain were lived out by Bill on and off the field.