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Be a Role Model

The Coach's Corner

Published May 4, 2012 @ midnight

Every week, it seems like a new moral or ethical shortcoming tarnishes the reputation of yet another sports superstar or pop culture icon. There's no need to name names or the charges. Enough ink has already been used reporting the allegations.

For better or worse, sports today provide one of the most visible platforms for modeling behavior. Yet, not everyone who stands on the pedestal wants the responsibility that comes with it. Some athletes even recoil at the idea of being a role model.

Still, there are others who give us hope.  Men like quarterback Tim Tebow and Colt McCoy who welcome and embrace the opportunity to make a positive impact.  They’re true men of honor and football players of great character and Christian witness.

But if there ever was an example of faith and character, Colt McCoy displayed it in his final game of his collegiate career.  Try to imagine his disappointment and absolute helplessness as he stood on the sidelines watching his team compete without him. Absolutely heartbreaking. I know that if I had been in his shoes, I would have asked God why a thousand times and probably shaken my fist at the sky.

After watching Texas quarterback Colt McCoy succeed for four years, not many would have predicted that his college career would end this way. Four years of preparation and hard work. (Five, if you count his time as a redshirt.) Four years of sacrifice and dedication. Four years of hoping and dreaming of hoisting the ultimate trophy. All of it came to one last shot at the national title. By the fifth play of the game, it was over. McCoy went down with a shoulder injury that took him out of the game he’d waited so long to play.

In the postgame interview, however, McCoy gave an example of true faith. “I never ask why,” he said. “God is in control of my life, and I’m standing on the Rock.”

“What? Come on, Colt! Aren’t you angry at God? Aren’t you sick to your stomach over what was taken away from you? This was your game! This was your time!” Nope. He was the picture of faith and humility, and was paying tribute to his competitors and teammates.

McCoy received an undesired and unplanned outcome. And, from his response, we can learn a great lesson. Yes, he was brokenhearted. You could see that in the emotion on his face and hear it in the quiver of his voice. But as a man of faith, he realized that he had been given a greater opportunity to model faith through disappointment.

It would have been very easy for McCoy to praise God while holding a trophy. While that would have been a great testament to the Lord, I think what he said after the game was a thousand times more powerful, if for no other reason than it was a thousand times more difficult.

At one time or another, life will bring us all to this point. We’re all going to be surprised by painful situations that we don’t plan. When those times come, how will we respond? Will we turn and react in anger for not getting what we wanted? Or, will we respond out of humility and faith.  Athletics offers those lessons almost on a daily basis and that is why it is such an important institution in the lives of our youth today.  It is not about playing time or even actual wins or losses.

Whatever you are going through today—whatever disappointments or losses you are experiencing, take the opportunity to evaluate your faith and your focus on life.  As coaches we try to teach our young men and women the same character and use those moments in athletics to reinforce this attitude.  Nothing can happen to you in life to make you a loser.  You are in control of your life and the real definition of winning comes from how you approach the victories and the defeats and not the actual outcome itself.

Tim Tebow and Colt McCoy may not be your favorite football players, and perhaps they are not mine, but they are at the top of my hero list and they are my favorite athletes and men that happen to play football.  They live their lives and play the game for the ultimate victory.  They are working for the Gold promised by their faith and they do it with true Boldness.  They are without a doubt Bold Gold players.

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