Jason E. Fort
Leave No Doubt!
This post is a sports post. This post is a motivational post. This post is a positive post. And it goes out to all the Clemson Tiger fans, and to this man right here... this is a picture of my favorite coach ever, with my favorite person ever; my son when he was 7 years old.
Last night, Dabo Swinney and the Clemson Tigers played one of the most venerated football programs in college football history, and they left no doubt in the minds of spectators everywhere, which team was the best team on the field of competition. The leader of young men spoke humbly about giving glory to God for everything that has happened - and when I snapped this pic way back in 2009 when he became the interim coach at Clemson...he was just as humble and genuine in person as he is on camera. And he left no doubt then, what kind of man he was when he took time out of his radio broadcast to pose with my little fella (who's not so little anymore).
After last night's game, the coach spoke of telling his team in his pre-game talk, to 'leave no doubt'. And I wanted to point out all the things that I had absolutely no doubt about after watching such a dominant performance on the athletic field. And some of the most important points have nothing to do with football.
Last night, my favorite sports team left no doubt as to who the best team in the country was. If you follow college football, you know that ESPN spoke all season long about how stellar this Alabama team was, and for the most part, they were right. When they spoke of the Tigers, there was always a hint of doubt at just how good the fighting Tigers from Clemson, SC were because of the lack of 'strength of schedule'.
Well after a 44-16 victory over the #1 team in the nation (and now a 15-0 record for the first time since leather helmets), there was no doubt who the better team was.
There was talk leading up to the game of just how good both quarterbacks were, but because Tua was already a proven champion, commentators had no doubt in their minds about how he would perform on the world's biggest stage again. But this Trevor guy? He's just a freshman, I kept hearing. I think it's safe to say, after the score and all the amazing passes under pressure the Clemson QB made in their victory, there was no doubt as to which QB was the best on the field. Yes, I know it was a team effort - but the doubt because of freshman status, was erased.
At the end of the game, there was no doubt to me which approach seems more effective in leading young men to victory. In the pre-game coverage, they talked about the Alabama coach's history. It turns out his father raised him to think that winning was the most important thing in the world, and anything less than that wasn't acceptable. And that stress and pressure to win has helped the Alabama coach succeed, to a fault. Talk about growing up under stress! And the stress on the Alabama sideline could be seen very early in the game, and in the post game presser. Yet if you looked across the field, at the Tiger coach, and the players, and know anything about the recent history of the Clemson program, there is no doubt that the pressure to win wasn't felt by the Clemson players. There is a HUGE difference in 'win at all costs', and 'Seize the day'....CARPE DIEM!
The Clemson coach has taken that approach, along with everyone on the team always being all in with the program, and created a family atmosphere that pervades the Clemson culture. Last night left no doubt for the rest of the country what the Clemson culture is like. I have many friends on social media that do not like Clemson. Yet even many of those people credited the behavior of the Clemson players and coaches for a good attitude - and of course great athletic performance. It was safe to say, there was no doubt the entire Clemson team seized the day. They really took care of business.
This brings me to my main point; at the end of the game, the young quarterback who most people would think would be jumping up and down, with a high pitched excited voice or something, spoke into the microphone; stoic yet happy. And he demonstrated what I think makes the best - stand out above the rest:
A 19 year old young man who most people would expect to live in the moment and be emotional, and maybe even a little braggadocios because of hype leading up to this grand stage, just almost nonchalantly (but with a big grin) gives credit to his team, and to God, and the atmosphere at Clemson.
All the excitement surrounding my favorite team, yet that is what stood out the most to me. The young quarterback left no doubt as to the kind of character he has, on the biggest stage in the country at that moment. People know where he stands. They know what he values. They know he is a good, Christian young man. Of that, there is no doubt.
Now don't get me wrong; I know there are plenty of other young people who have similar attributes and talent. There are plenty of people out there who seize the moment and leave no doubt who they are. But that is my whole point. How many times do we live our day to day lives, and make a conscious effort to leave no doubt to others what kind of character we are? What kind of character and person are we, in Christ? I know, I know; such an effort seems lofty, and maybe even exhausting.
But I think we can use moments like the one I witnessed in my favorite team last night, to inspire us. Maybe, just maybe, we can look to other people we admire; other people we know who also have that same character to which we want to prescribe, and emulate them. Maybe we can all somehow seize the day, make the best of situations and think about how God would want us to act in this situation or that one - and leave no doubt to others where it is that we draw our inspiration.
Food for thought after a 2019 National Championship in college football :)
and Go Tigers :)