There is no bad time to read a good book, but there's never been a better time. We are medically threatened, physically distanced and spiritually challenged by the pervasive, destructive coronavirus pandemic.
With so much free time forced upon us, there's never been a better time to bury yourself in an uplifting story. If faith, family and football play important roles in your life, Randy Pippin has just the story for you.
It's called Deep in the Heart, which describes the story and its genesis for the author three decades ago. UAB football's director of player relations, who's also served as an assistant coach, Pippin spent years finding the time to tell it, time that football coaches, husbands and fathers don't have in abundance, as a labor of love.
An unapologetically spiritual man, Pippin, who arrived at UAB the day after the football program was reinstated in 2015, has produced a "dynamic 3-D living book, a daily devotional program for your personal development inspired by Southern football history and the UAB football program's death, burial, resurrection, return and future."
UAB football is the river that runs through it, but this is so much more than a football book. It's a unique experience, reflective and interactive in both the paperback and online versions. It combines a wealth of original content with an aggregation of Scriptures, Proverbs, companion stories, worship songs, video messages for enrichment and enlightenment, questions for reflection, open-ended prayers and coaching points that have nothing to do with Xs and Os.
You'll meet a fascinating cast of characters like some UAB football players from the early days, who were easy to ID after getting rowdy at a bar after a game because they were still wearing their uniforms. There's the would-be walk-on after #TheReturn named Jesus and the would-be star named Greg Bryant whose life was cut short because he went home to celebrate Mother's Day.
The book shines a light on Gene Bartow, Bear Bryant, Eddie Robinson, Jim Hilyer, Watson Brown, Bill Clark and so many other familiar names, past and present. It's a fun, spiritual journey through the history of Southern football as well, especially in the state of Alabama and the city of Birmingham.
As Pippin writes in the introduction, "Our prayer is that Deep in the Heart Starring UAB Football will move your soul in a positive manner, prompting you to positively move towards reaching the fullness of your God-given Star Power as never before."
Getting to know Pippin as he neared the goal line of the book's completion - and, full disclosure, having the privilege to provide a small assist to his almost-finished product - moved me in a positive way. As he promised and delivered, this book is unlike any I've experienced because it truly is an experience.
It may not change your life, but if you let it, it could make your day. Day after day after day. There's never been a better time to find a book that serves as a positive light during an uncertain time. Deep in the Heart is that book.
Sample Print Book: https://bit.ly/2TUHVXw