In the world of sports reporters and athletes, there is one unwritten rule both groups generally agree on: weíll tolerate each other, but donít expect deep friendships. Writer Steve Rom knew the rule, but life has a way of changing things. Centered by a Miracle: A True Story of Friendship, Football, & Life documents how Romís life-threatening battle with leukemia resulted in an incredible, if unlikely, relationship with Rod Payne, a former All-American center at the University of Michigan and a member of the 2000 Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens.
As a sportswriter covering University of Michigan athletics, Rom eventually was introduced to Payne, and their friendship quickly blossomed. Rom ended up in a hospital after a few days of worsening sickness, and was diagnosed with leukemia. Payne became Romís biggest encourager and helper through the ordeal, often staying by Romís bedside through the night. The book, however, is not primarily about the fight against such a horrible disease, but rather reveals the strengthening of a friendship through hardship. Most of the book is upbeat, and Romís recollections of some of the adventures he and Payne encountered in the hospital are hilarious.
As a seasoned journalist, Rom is quite adept at telling a story. There are not any miraculous healings, contrived emotional heart-tugging moments, or overtly Christian messages. There are, however, plenty of solid themes like friendship, perseverance, servanthood, and building relationships that come through loud and clear. The book would primarily appeal to males from teens to adults, but itís steady flow and friendly style would also hold the interest of anyone, even those who wouldnít normally read a Ďsportsí book. Ė Jeff Friend, Christian Book Previews.com
Rod Payne, the former All-American center at the University of Michigan and a Super Bowl champion with the Baltimore Ravens, never set out to explain the meaning of life to Steve Rom, a sportswriter and the kind of guy most professional athletes keep at a distance.
After Steve was diagnosed with leukemia, however, Rod left his job as co-host of a daily sports radio talk show in Ann Arbor, his first post-football career, to help rally his friend back to health. Steve's future, once again, became clear. So too, however, did the challenges that lay ahead. What ensued was a 10-month battle for survival, one that would ultimately turn these friends into brothers.