As if almost winning a brand new car wasn't enough to start off 2017, my college alma mater, Clemson University, just won the NCAA FBS College Football Championship. If you aren't in the United States or if you're possibly living under a rock, it's a really BIG deal. We made it to the championship game for the first time in 35 years last year and came up short; however, this year, we played with a mission to win and took down the reigning champs! The game was nothing short of intense, nail biting, and stressful. It literally came down to the last second.
I went through a wave of emotions during this game, as I always do. We were down in the first half of the game and had to fight to finally get a lead in the 4th quarter. Within minutes, our lead was taken away and we had less than 2 minutes to prove why we were there. The players calmly took on the challenge and drove down the field for the final, winning touchdown. What a game it was!
As we celebrated, I couldn't help but look over to my husband and say, "This is a message on not giving up." With less than two minutes left, the momentum shifted out of our favor, and the very hard task of scoring again for the win, the team did not give up. There were three scenarios that could've played out: we could have not scored and lost, we could have kicked a field goal and tied the game for overtime play , or we could have gone for the touchdown and win. We chose the latter and that tenacity, heart, and drive to win paid off. We didn't give up.
I've seen this football team over the years and I remember days when this wouldn't be the case. With two minutes left, being down, we would've accepted defeat. But last night's team was different. They saw even the last few seconds as an opportunity that couldn't be wasted. It begs to wonder how many opportunities, in the form of days, weeks, and years, have we allowed to waste away because we've accepted defeat? How many times have we looked at a situation and, based on how it looked and the way the momentum seemed to be going, decided to throw in the towel because you thought fighting through would be unfruitful? How many victories have we given up on account of how things looked? Something as small and insignificant in the grand scheme of things and teach us some of the most powerful lessons. This one is to never give up, despite the odds and what it looks like. There is still hope and you are still capable of winning.
Some will say that the team was lucky...those folks are likely fans of the opponent. Luck isn't real, but favor is. My proudest moment of this victory wasn't the winning touchdown, but the praise and honor given to God for the win. This wasn't your award's show, "First, I'd like to think God" as they accept an award for most vulgar, derogatory, and blasphemous album. No. This was genuine praise and thanks to God, which they do after every game. This was recognition that the favor of God was (and still is) with them over the years and it's only through Him that they've made it this far. Yes, God even cares about football.
As I sit and watch some of the replay, I get a bit teary eyed. I've watched this team rebuild and work tirelessly to get to this point. It's a joy seeing the fruit of their labor and victory amidst the naysayers and doubters. It's so much like the Christian journey. Persevere, in spite of. Live right, in spite of. Praise God, in spite of. Sow, in spite of. Forgive, in spite of. And, soon enough, He'll prepare a table before you in the presence of your enemies. What an amazing experience to see this lesson personified through the lives of these young men.
So for a long time now, I'll be celebrating and wearing more orange than ever. I'm proud to be an alumna of such a great institution, both academically and athletically. It's a great time to be a tiger!
Here are some clips from the postgame celebration. Enjoy!