The much anticipated BCS Championship Game last Thursday night held a few surprises, and one big heartbreak for the Texas Longhorns and their highly-rated quarterback Colt McCoy.
An SI article worth reading, by Andy Staples, notes how close McCoy has come to obtaining both conference and national titles—including the Heisman—in his career, but that somehow each time they remained just out of reach.
This past year—2009—was McCoy’s final year at the University of Texas and his final season with the Longhorns. He led them to a perfect regular season record; 12-0. The 2010 BCS Championship game on January 7, 2010 was the talented quarterback’s final opportunity to shine at the college level.
But, once again it was not to be.
During the Longhorns’ very first drive of the game, in the red zone, Colt McCoy was “blasted” by Alabama linebacker Marcell Dareus, forcing him back into center Chris Hall. It knocked McCoy out of the game with a pinched nerve in his shoulder.
After being x-rayed and examined, he returned to the field to encourage his teammates and especially his replacement, back up quarterback Garrett Gilbert—a freshman.
Despite a valiant effort by Gilbert, the Texas Longhorns were defeated by the Alabama Crimson Tide 37-21.
And while the Alabama victory was certainly earned and deserved, there was another victory of sorts that night.
In light of all that had happened to him in his college quarterback career, Colt McCoy chose not to give into despair.
Staples writes: “Given multiple chances to feel sorry for himself, McCoy didn't take the bait. ‘It would be so easy to question why,’ he said. But he never did.”
In fact, McCoy explained what it was (or Who it was) that enabled him to deal with this disappointment in what began as the biggest game of his young life thus far.
"I worked and played my whole career to be on this stage, to be given this opportunity," Colt told reporters. "I know what it would have been like had I played that game. To know that is tough. But at the same time, I am a man of faith. I stand on the Rock. I'll never question God for why things happen the way they do… There's bigger and better football days to come."
That’s grace, and that’s trusting the Lord for the bigger picture.
It’s a good reminder to each of us that true strength and character isn’t measured by victories, but by how you get up and press on after defeat and disappointment.