The Seed of Hope

A gift for tomorrow

Shining in Defeat

My Dad always used to tell me that “God works in mysterious ways.” I always accepted his affirmation as being true, but looking back now, I realized that I never really gave much thought to it…until the past few years. I’ve come to believe that Dad was right; God does indeed work in mysterious ways. And He will manifest Himself through us, if we will only let Him…

THE Game

This past Thursday night, January 7th, the University of Alabama football team faced the University of Texas team in the Collegiate National Championship game…Alabama’s top-ranked Crimson Tide against the second-ranked Texas Longhorns.

The game was being billed as the game of the year. Both teams entered the game undefeated, with sparkling 13-0 records. Both team’s defensive units were among the top five in the country. Alabama’s head coach, Nick Saban, and Texas’ coach, Mack Brown, were considered to be among the best in their field. The winner of the game would be declared the best team in the country; the National Champion. BIG game.

And just in case the meeting of these two talented teams wasn’t enough to draw your attention, there was a personal matchup within the matchup; a “mano-e-mano” kind of thing, if you will. A couple of weeks earlier, Alabama running back Mark Ingram had received the Heisman Trophy, which is given each year to the best college football player in America. One of the runners-up was Texas quarterback Colt McCoy, a sentimental favorite who had finished a close second in the Heisman vote last year. Consequently, many eyes were going to be focused on “Ingram vs. McCoy”, candidate vs. candidate; the game within the game. Which player would perform better in front of a national television audience, in the biggest game of the year? Who would lead his team to victory?

The anticipation and “hype” leading up to the game was unbelievable. Texas had last won the title in 2005, while it had been seventeen years earlier, in 1992, since Alabama had won. Which team would prevail? Which team would be crowned “King” for the 2009 season?

The final score was…

I’m not gonna tell you what it was; you can find that out for yourself, if you’re interested enough. You see, the final outcome of the game is not what is important here; it’s something else entirely.

There was, however, one play in the game that I want to tell you about…

It was early in the game and Texas was driving towards Alabama’s goal line. Colt McCoy took the snap from center and was running to the left, looking for some room to turn up-field and gain some yardage against Alabama’s defense. McCoy was tackled by an Alabama player and was stopped for no gain on the play.

The next television shot was of Colt McCoy, running off of the field towards the sidelines, motioning that he needed attention.

Colt McCoy never played another down during the rest of the football game. On a routine tackle, during a routine play, Colt McCoy’s shoulder had taken a routine hit, and the consequences were anything but routine. The Texas team doctor and trainers had taken Colt to the dressing room for x-rays and a few other tests, which all proved to be negative. It didn’t matter; Colt’s arm just wouldn’t work. He couldn’t throw the football with any force or accuracy. He spent the remainder of the game on the sidelines, as a spectator, pulling for his teammates.

After the game.

At this point, for you to really appreciate my message to you today, I have to tell you that my team, Alabama, won the football game. But I also have to tell you that in this man’s humble opinion, Colt McCoy won the day.

Before I continue, I want to talk about a dream for just a moment. Though I’ve never met him, I’ll bet that growing up Colt McCoy had a “quarterback” dream, perhaps several of them…to be a starting quarterback…to throw a touchdown pass to win a game…to play football in college…to lead his team to a national championship. Those kinds of dreams require hard work, dedication, commitment, and preparation; years of it.

Immediately after game, one of the T.V. reporters covering the game caught up with Colt seeking an interview, which he graciously agreed to do. I’m sitting there thinking, “This kid has to be hurting on the inside. I can’t believe that this person is gonna question him about his thoughts. Not now.” Of course, that’s exactly what she proceeded to do….

“Colt, what was it like for you to watch this game, your last game in a Texas uniform on the sidelines?” questioned the reporter.

I watched and listened, as this 23 year old young man, this kid, struggled to fight back tears as he searched for words to answer the question that had been posed to him. Several seconds elapsed as he stood there, shaking his head, doing everything that was in him to keep his composure. Finally he began to speak…

“I love this game, and I’ve done everything I can to contribute to my team. We made it this far, and it’s unfortunate that I didn’t get to play. I would’ve given everything I had to be out there with my team, but congratulations to Alabama. I love the way our team fought…. I always give God the glory. I never question why things happen the way they do. God is in control of my life and I know that if nothing else, I’m standin’ on the Rock.”

So small.

That’s the best way to describe the way I felt after hearing the remarks of this young man, this soldier of God. He’d been preparing for that game for years, chasing the dream that he probably had since he was a kid…being the quarterback on the best team in the country. In the blink of an eye, it was over. He didn’t even get his chance.

This brave young man had every reason in the world to be frustrated, to feel that he had been somehow “cheated” of his chance, to be angry, to be mad at God. I mean, who would have blamed him for being bitter?

When most may have taken the opportunity to complain about the hand that had been dealt to them, Colt McCoy rose above himself to share what was on his heart, to praise his opponent, and to give glory to God.

Suddenly, the taste of victory wasn’t so sweet for me. I mean, I was glad that my team won, but I was more proud of young Mr. McCoy.

In what was probably one of his darkest hours, Colt McCoy’s light in defeat was brighter than it ever would have been in victory.

You were so right, Dad. God does indeed work in mysterious ways.

 

See you next week.

    

Comments

sharon wrote on 01/11/10 7:58 AM

Such a mighty tribute to a young warrior....I only wish Colt himself could read it. I know we all have moments such as this that we are called upon to stand firm...I pray I can shine in my time of defeat! If we are standing on the rock...we cannot fail!!!! (oh and hook em horns!)
Susie McCullum wrote on 01/11/10 8:17 AM

Beautifully shared. Thank you for writing this....so touching....so moving. That is what it is all about. It's not about the game....it's about a true Player for Jesus giving credit to the true Coach!
Steve McGee wrote on 01/11/10 8:19 AM

Awesome message, Sam!!!
jason wrote on 01/11/10 9:52 AM

Great Eternal Perspective~ God gets glory even in human defeat.
Deborah Biggs wrote on 01/11/10 3:35 PM

Well Sam, as you know, I was at the Rose Bowl. I was very happy Bama won, but I did feel for Colt. Today, however, reflecting on what I have gone through these past eight months, and spending part of this day crying, I decided to drag myself out of bed, and read my e-mail. Once again, I was lead to your website. You, today, posted the one thing I needed ONCE AGAIN to hear. God has the best for us, and all we need do is follow, and let him lead. After all, the birds sing after a storm, why shouldn't we? Thanks Sam! Love, Deborah
Peggy Dew wrote on 01/11/10 7:16 PM

What a wonderful expression of love for His God Colt gave in this interview. I, too, could not believe the reporter could be so insensitive as to ask him the question she did. Apparently Colt took a few minutes to let God tell Him what to say and what a wonderful, heartwarming testimony He gave. He was indeed the hero of the game. I think you should send this to him. I'm sure this would be a wonderful confirmation to Colt from God. Love to you and Jackie.
Donna wrote on 01/11/10 7:21 PM

I'm glad you've used this venue to broadcast what so many Christians must also think. You've expressed it well. We are blessed to have several Christian athletes in the spotlight who know how to shine, whether in victory or defeat.
Linda wrote on 01/18/10 7:23 AM

Your posts never disappoint me! I thank God for you.
Chris Garmon wrote on 01/19/10 5:01 PM

Tim noticed Sunday that you had on a pin that says "I am..." I am sure he asked you about it because he told me how great he thought it was. It reminded me of a website www.iamsecond.com that you should check out, if you have not already. Colt McCoy had a message on the site, posted way before the game, with Sam Bradford, that is spot on.
Gabriel wrote on 01/23/10 1:02 AM

Awesome post! I started praying for Colt several months ago. One Sunday in October my pastor mentioned in his sermon that he had spoken with a UT football player the previous Sunday. This player (he withheld the name) was seeking advice and prayer on how to make God #1 and not football. This player was Colt McCoy. I know this because my wife and I noticed him in attendance and watched him walk up front after the service. I have only competed at the state level. Never a national championship. I remember the lesson that God taught me in high school when a 31-1 basketball team I played on was supposed to win state. God told me at the begining of that season "If you are not ok without the Title, you will never be ok with it" My prayer was simple; "God help Colt be "ok" with or without the Title."
Peggy wrote on 01/23/10 10:08 AM

Your article about Colt McCoy in the Austin paper today. I am very thankful that UT fans have the opportunity to read this very positive article.
Caroline wrote on 01/24/10 8:12 AM

I read this article in the Austin American Statesman. The title of the article "In defeat, faith in God gets an opportunity to shine brightly" said it all. And what an opportunity for God to show his awesomness - through a wonderful young man, such as Colt McCoy. That game will be remembered forever beause of Colt McCoy and his fantastic display of faith in God.
Robert Goodlett wrote on 01/24/10 10:15 AM

Read the article in the Austin American-Statesman. Your words certainly captuered the essence of a fine young man. Earlier in the week, Colt had written a 'Thank You' note to Austin and Longhorn Fans. Thanks for your commentary of a young Man's Faith and Class. PS... I was at the Game and the Alabama Fans showed a lot of Class in Victory.
Michael Williams wrote on 01/25/10 9:10 AM

I also read your comments in the Austin American-Statesman on Saturday. You captured my own thoughts very well. Perhaps the reason for the injury and for the reporter's insensitive question were precisely so that Colt could make this statement to the world. To God be the glory!
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