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Kurt Warner: Success Starts With Faith

Share This article - If anyone knows anything about overcoming adversity and believing in yourself, it’s star quarterback Kurt Warner.

When his team, the St. Louis Rams, won Super Bowl XXXIV last January, Warner screamed “Thank you, Jesus!” The 132 million people watching heard and saw his appreciation to God.  But, the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player (MVP) wasn't thanking God for a charmed life.

Warner, 29, had a lot of God-given ability, and he was very good in sports.  But he had troubles to conquer, too.  He tells his story in Keep Your Head Up (Taylor Trade).  The autobiography is the latest in the “Positively For Kids” series of sports star autobiographies.

Keep Your Head Up chronicles Warner’s life through the 1999-2000 season in 40 pages of text, photos, and illustrations. Kids and parents can read how Warner describes his faith, good fortune, and  attitudes about life.

“Success on any field starts with faith,” Warner writes. “Faith in yourself. Faith in teammates. Faith in coaches. And in my case, faith in God.”

God keeps Warner grounded, as a football player who credits teammates for his success and as a loving husband and dad who shuts off his football star image when he’s home.

It all goes back to the faith Warner learned as a child in Iowa, recognizing his parents' love for him, even though they divorced when he was 4 years old. He learned to handle being “painfully shy,” a fear of heights, and even wetting the bed. Those lessons helped later when he was relegated to play quarterback--a position he didn’t like.

Keep Your Head Up is a little reminiscent of another book by a football star; a book Warner notes influenced him in his teen years. In I Am Third, Chicago Bears Hall of Fame running back Gale Sayers writes, “The Lord is first, my friends are second, and I am third.”

Armed with his faith, Warner didn’t give up when the Green Bay Packers cut him in 1994. After all, he had waited four years before becoming the starting quarterback at the University of Northern Iowa (after redshirting his freshman year).

He learned humility stocking store shelves at night, making $5.50 an hour, while dedicating himself to football during the day. In his words, he went from being the “talk of the town to stockboy.”

He started in the Arena Football League in 1995, playing badly before gaining his confidence. It was NFL-Europe three years later before the big leagues called, and he played backup quarterback for the Rams in 1998, before his starting position in 1999.

Warner did tire of questions about whether he was surprised by the team’s impressive 6-0 start and 13-3 record. “When you prepare yourself,” he says, “success isn’t a surprise.”

Other athletes in the "Positively For Kids" series include Troy Aikman, Bonnie Blair, John Elway, Doug Flutie, Gary Payton, Cal Ripken, Alex Rodriguez, Kerri Strug, Kristi Yamaguchi, and many more.

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