A few weeks back, I was listening to The Rick and Bubba show on Ustream, since our local radio affiliate dropped the show. I really hate that, because I loved listening to it while getting ready for work in the mornings. My guess is that the sex toys store and the abortion clinic threatened to pull their advertising if the station didn't drop the conservative, Christian show which promoted patriotism, common sense, and good moral values. So now, if I want to listen, I have to go to Ustream and watch the show archives.
Be that as it may, I was listening one morning, and Rick started telling a story about how he was flipping through the TV channels and found on one of the sports stations a program which caught his attention entitled Two Fathers, Two Sons, A Story Of Raising Champions. The show was a documentary type thing in which they were interviewing the fathers of Greg McElroy and Colt McCoy. For those of you who don't watch football, those were the two quarterbacks of Alabama and Texas, which played for the BCS National Championship last season. I tried to find the show online, but couldn't. I tried all the usual places-- YouTube, Hulu, Ustream, but no dice. So, what you are about to read is my re-telling of Rick's retelling of what he watched.
The show was talking to the fathers about what it was like to raise these two little boys to be young men playing for the BCS National Championship. Greg McElroy's father was saying how proud he was, and how after the game, Greg came up into the stands and gave him his helmet. As he was leaving to go back into the locker room, Greg turned and tossed his father the game ball, and he dropped it. His son had just won the National Championship, and he dropped the ball. He said he couldn't help it. He played guard in college.
The interview with Brad McCoy was much more poignant. He described what it was like sitting in the stands and seeing his son go down like that. How Colt was trying to play it off like it was nothing, but Brad knew right away something was wrong. They took Colt back to the locker room, then a few minutes later, came and got Brad. When he walked into the locker room, Colt was asking for his pads, wanting to get back into the game. Behind him, the medical staff were shaking their heads, and saying, "It ain't happening." They'd had to hide his helmet, they said, to keep him off the field.
"This is all emotion talking," they told Brad McCoy. "There's no way he's going back into the game." So, Brad did what any good father would do in that situation. He put on his Dad face and was strong for his son, even though his own heart was breaking.
Later, back in the stands, watching the rest of the game, Brad had to admit that he was angry. Colt had dreamed of this his whole life. He'd worked so hard to get here. He was a fine, Christian young man who'd stayed true to his faith. Yet, on only the fifth play of this game he'd worked his whole life to get to, he is knocked out, not to return. Why? Why would God do this to him? Why would God allow this to happen?
When the game was over, and Colt was interviewed, Brad couldn't hear what he was saying because he was still in the stands. As soon as the interview aired, Brad immediately began getting texts and messages about what a fantastic interview Colt had done, and what an impact his words had made. When he was finally able to speak to him, he told Colt that people had been telling him how honorably he'd handled the interview and asked him what he'd said. Colt replied, "Dad, I don't even know. I just hope I didn't make a fool of myself." Of course, we know what he said.
As the days went by, Brad McCoy started thinking. What a platform God had given to his son to make an impact for Christ. Yes, he was still hurt by the loss, but his son had gotten to proclaim his faith in front of hundreds of thousands --perhaps millions-- of viewers on national TV. He has been asked, "Well, wouldn't it have been an even bigger platform if he'd won?" No, it wouldn't have been. Everybody loves God when they win. Everybody gives God the glory when they win. It's expected. But to love God when you lose, to give him glory in the face of crushing disappointment--that will truly make an impact.
Brad McCoy is right. It's easy to give God glory when you win. It's a whole lot harder to say "I'm standing on the Rock" when you've just lost the biggest game of your career. It's a whole lot harder to say, "I don't question the will of God" when not only have you lost the biggest game of your career, but you didn't even get to play. It's a lot harder to say "I know God has a plan for my life" when your own plans were just completely and irrevocably shattered in an instant.
Colt McCoy will leave a legacy in the world of college football. Yet, his biggest legacy won't be the games he's won, or the records he's set, or all the awards he's received. It won't even be that he is the winningest college quarterback in history. No, his biggest legacy will point back to a game he lost.
To a night he stood with the eyes of a nation upon him, and with a voiced choked by emotion, he let his little light shine in a big, big way.