If you can get Nick Saban chocked up, you must be a pretty special person.
I love the life lessons that can come to us from the sporting world.
This weekend, Alabama was playing Georgia in the SEC Championship Game. The Crimson Tide were trying to continue one of the most dominating seasons in college football history, but they had struggled against Georgia and trailed by 7 when star quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (the favorite to win the Heisman trophy as college football’s best player) left the game with an injury.
Back up Jalen Hurts came into the game and led Alabama to victory in the game.
I’m not a fan of Alabama (Go Buckeyes!) But I can’t help rooting for Jalen Hurts. Him leading the team to a comeback victory in the SEC Championship is a great life lesson for us all.
Rise and fall
Last year, Jalen Hurts was a sophomore quarterback and in his second year as a starter for the Crimson Tide. He had led Alabama to two national championship games. They lost his first year. In year two, he struggled against Georgia in the title game.
Saban did something unprecedented at halftime of the national championship game.
He put in the backup quarterback.
The rest was history. Tagovailoa came off the bench and threw for 166 yards and 3 touchdowns, including a game winning strike in overtime.
This year, Tagovailoa remained as the quarterback, which put Hurts (who had thrown for over 4,800 yards and 40 touchdowns, ran for 1,809 yards and another 21 touchdowns) as the backup. Hurts had been 26-1 as a starter!
Hurts could have transferred.
But He decided to stay.
He’s a 20 year old young man who was the starting quarterback for Alabama for two years. Huge platform, huge opportunity, prestigious program.
Life lessons on the football field
Here’s the lesson.
You can face adversity. Don’t feel sorry for yourself, continue to work hard. Don’t feel bitter, continue to be a team player. Don’t resent the success of others, celebrate with them when they succeed.
Those are hard pills to swallow. It takes a humble man to do that. Especially when you had accomplished so much and been so successful. It could be easy to feel entitled and have a bad attitude.
Continue to work hard and to look for opportunities to succeed.
I have no doubt that this is not what Jalen Hurts would have envisioned when he was taken out of last season’s national championship game. But I also believe that he’s a better person for this experience. And I believe we can learn from him.
As Kirk Herbstreit said on ESPN, “it’s almost a Hollywood script.”
Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear what you think, and don’t forget to subscribe!
Josh Benner is the associate pastor at Cornerstone Evangelical Free Church in Fergus Falls, Minnesota and has a Master of Divinity from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He enjoys writing about faith and culture. He lives with his wife Kari in Minnesota.
Categories: Commentary, NCAA, Sports