Athletes’ Physical Training Paralleled to Christians’ Spiritual Training in New Book ‘The Biggest Win’
Joshua Cooley’s Story of Faith Within Super Bowl-Winning Philadelphia Eagles Team Hits Top Spot in Amazon’s ‘Youth Ministry’ Category
PHILADELPHIA—With NFL training camps under way and the first preseason games just around the corner, world-class athletes know that a commitment to practice makes all the difference as the season progresses—and hopefully that practice is enough to contribute to a strong season that leads to a Super Bowl ring.
The new book by author and premier sports writer Joshua Cooley parallels the physical and mental training of professional athletes with the spiritual training all Christians must undergo to build their faith and strengthen their relationship with Christ.
Released last week by New Growth Press, “The Biggest Win: Pro Football Players Tackle Faith” shares the inspirational faith stories of six Super Bowl champions of the 2017 Philadelphia Eagles team. Cooley first met Zach Ertz, Nick Foles, Jordan Hicks, Chris Maragos, Carson Wentz and Trey Burton, who signed with the Chicago Bears this offseason, when he was writing a freelance magazine story about the strong faith and enduring bond of these professional athletes. After the article was written, Cooley knew there was a much bigger story to tell.
“NFL training camps are brutal,” Cooley writes. “For three arduous weeks, players go full-throttle to get ready for a grueling four-month season that they all hope will extend into early February. During the initial stages of training camp, 14-hour days are nothing out of the ordinary, and everything in training camp is extremely regimented. Players work with position coaches, drill on techniques, hold scrimmages, lift weights, watch film, hold meetings with their position groups, meet with their larger units—and then do it again and again and again.
“For NFL athletes, training camp isn’t just about strengthening your body, physical skills and muscle memory,” Cooley continued. “It’s also about sharpening your mind. Through training, athletes strive to eliminate mistakes, refine their skills, and achieve greatness. In 2017, the countless hours the Eagles devoted to training paid off big-time. Every sport, from peewee leagues to the pros, builds a training regimen into its preseason, so athletes are better prepared once the season starts.”
“The Biggest Win” also gives athletes and sports fans a unique, insider’s look into the lives and faith of these champion players. Through the ups and downs of the game of football, Cooley shows how these high-profile athletes remain committed to God’s Word, genuine Christian discipleship and sharing their faith.
“The same principle applies to the Christian life,” Cooley added. “In 1 Timothy 4:7-8, the apostle Paul used athletic training metaphors in his epistles to encourage spiritual growth among New Testament churches: ‘Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.’ If athletes display passion, purpose, and perseverance in their training for temporary rewards, how much more should Christians train in matters of eternal consequence?”
“The Biggest Win” also combines biblical truths with practical direction on issues that every Christian faces, including dealing with adversity, competition, change, success, failure and how to thrive by faith in a pressurized world. Encouraging male and female athletes in any sport, “The Biggest Win” guides them in finding their ultimate identity in Christ, not their athletic achievements.
A percentage of the book sales from “The Biggest Win” will go to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the international sports ministry with a vision to see the world transformed by Jesus Christ through the influence of coaches and athletes.
Cooley is also the co-author for Foles’ new book, “Believe It,” which became a New York Times best-seller in its first week. Cooley’s other works include “The One Year Devotions with Jesus: 365 Devotions to Help You Know and Love the Savior,” “Heroes of the Bible Devotional: 90 Devotions to Help You Become a Hero of God!” and “The One Year Sports Devotions for Kids.”
New Growth Press publishes gospel-centered, Bible-based materials that provide churches, families, and individuals with resources for personal and spiritual growth and change. The growing Christian publisher produces a wide variety of gospel-centered resources for individuals, families and churches. NGP also publishes books, minibooks, small group and Gospel Story for Kids resources that provide churches, families and individuals with gospel-driven publications for all ages.
“The Biggest Win” is available now at Amazon.com or ChristianBook.com. View the media page for “The Biggest Win” here, or visit joshuacooleyauthor.com/the-biggest-win or the New Growth Press page at newgrowthpress.com/the-biggest-win.