Last night was the college football playoff national championship between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Georgia Bulldogs. It was a game that I was greatly looking forward to as a fan of college football and especially the SEC. I believe that the game lived up to all of the hype. I know that there were many who were upset because there were two teams from the same conference in the national championship. The truth is that if the two top teams are in the same conference, they should be the ones playing it out on the field for the prize.
As I’ve had a little time to come down from the excitement of having “my team” win it all (in dramatic fashion), I’ve been thinking about some things that I will be taking away from this game. I thought that I would share them with you.
No one is bigger than the team.
The University of Alabama made a major decision as they came out of the locker room after halftime. They decided to put in their backup quarterback to lead the team and try to get a spark going for what had been a less-than-stellar first half. One might think that that is not such a big deal. That is until you realize that the backup is a true freshman who has not seen any real competitive gametime action all year. The decision to make this young man’s first major appearance in the biggest game of the year with only half the time to work with seems crazy… but it was the right decision.
The starting quarterback for Alabama, Jalen Hurts, is one that came into last night’s championship with a record of 25-2. That is simply phenomenal no matter what standard you use. While Hurts had led the team to championship game all year long, when it came time to step aside, he did. Jalen Hurts did not think more about himself and his fame than that of the team. He did not demand what he “had earned” but stepped aside for the betterment of the team. And because of that, today is part of a championship team.
There is no one person that is bigger than the team. When I think about the arena that I spend most of my time in (the church), I think that this is a lesson that we could all use. Too many times people are tempted to go the way of what they see in the business world within the church. The church is not about “me”… it is not here to make me look better… it is not here to help me achieve my agenda… it is not even here for my desires. The church is the team of God’s people working together carrying out God’s agenda.
One thing that Tua Tagovailoa learned firsthand last night was that you had better be ready when your number is called. There was no time to make excuses. There was no time to prepare at that moment. He would either sink or swim. The wonderful thing for the Crimson Tide is that Tagovailoa was ready for the moment. There were very few (if any) who thought that the coaching staff would make the switch of quarterbacks at halftime of the most important game of the season. I know I never saw it coming. But that decision was made… and they are celebrating today.
Every Christian should take notice. 1 Peter 3:15 reminds us “in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, ready at any time to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.”
Sadly, not every (actually very few) opportunities that God calls us to come with a warning. We have to be ready for that moment before the moment comes. God uses every moment to prepare us for what lies ahead. If we stay alert and ready, then when that call comes, we will experience the victory that God has for us.
The Importance of Celebration
As the Crimson Tide hit the long pass for the victory in overtime, the place went nuts. I know it went crazy around my house. One of the key moments of that night was when starting quarterback (Jalen Hurts) ran out onto the field to congratulate the backup quarterback (Tua Tagovailoa). Hurts was the first one out there congratulating the young man that took his position.
If that wasn’t enough, Jalen Hurts was interviewed after the game. He was quick to praise his teammate and all that Tagovailoa had done for the team. There was no jealousy. There was no whining. There was no regrets.
Too many times, the church loses sight of this element. We are part of the same team – the team of Christ. We should celebrate when the Kingdom is represented well and wins.
Give glory to where glory is due
The interview of Tua Tagovailoa after the game is one that will be remembered for some time to come. This young man who was on top of the world at the moment was quick to give glory to His Savior… and he didn’t go the generic route… he left no doubt about who he was talking about.
When we experience great moments in our lives, we must remember that none of it would be possible if God did not provide. A part of being alert is remembering that fact. It is easy to get caught up in the moment and lose our focus, but we are just recipients of grace from a mighty God. Thank you, Tua, for giving my boys another man to look up to in this dark world.
And thank you, Crimson Tide, for another great year of football!