The End of a Tour

1:15 P.M. – Chicago, IL

The Tony Dungy Uncommon book tour has concluded with two days of very successful book signings in Tampa. This past Friday morning we flew from Indianapolis to Tampa and drove immediately to the FOX affiliate in Tampa, where Coach Dungy did a :30 minute interview with host Kathy Fountain for her show, “Your Turn.” It was a fun show to watch because they had unearthed some footage of Tony playing college basketball at the University of Minnesota.

Immediately following our departure we drove to Lifeway Christian Store in Citrus Park, where we were eagerly greeted by Maggie, the store owner who had taken such great care of us during the Quiet Strength tour two years earlier. The weather was certainly better this time around as fans were forced to stand in the rain to wait to get their books signed during the Quiet Strength tour. We thought we might have time for a longer dinner but by the time we arrived in Lakeland for that evening’s signings we had to eat very quickly at Moe’s Southwest Grill. I am glad that we arrived on time at the Books-a-Million in Lakeland because the turnout was huge. Coach Dungy signed for well more than two hours and signed more than 1,000 books. It was a wonderful turnout. The ride back to our hotel was emotional as Coach Dungy spent his time on the phone trying to give encouragement to a dad who had just recently lost a son to suicide. It was a remarkable car ride to hear Coach Dungy lend an ear as a friend.

Saturday morning Coach Dungy and Nathan Whitaker signed books at Ave Maria Christian Books and Gifts in Brandon, FL, which is owned by Kevin O’Donnell, who is a sports anchor at FOX 13 in Tampa. It was another great turnout and Coach Dungy signed books for nearly three hours. Although a small store, the staff did a wonderful job managing the turnout.

The end of these tours is always bittersweet. While we have such a great time, the schedule is grueling. The Saturday prior to the Super Bowl, I tried to pay for lunch with my hotel room key–that was a pretty good indication that I was getting tired. I’m not sure Coach Dungy ever gets tired. However, we were truly blessed just as we were two years ago with the tour for Quiet Strength. We had no travel delays, we met some amazing people, and Coach Dungy is such a great example of what it means to be a genuine follower of Jesus Christ. Jessica Quinn, Nathan Whitaker, DJ Snell (Tony’s literary agent), and I spend so many hours together on these trips that you are bound to see just about any chink in someone’s armor. Never did we see Coach Dungy frustrated, nor did we ever see him treat anyone with disrespect. He is a genuine, humble, man with a kind soul. I drove around Chicago yesterday with his Quiet Strength audio book playing in my car because I think I must have missed his voice. I think he makes everyone who spends time with him want to live his or her life for the Lord.

I will provide a tour summary later this week.