Just like my Daddy was, my husband (Jeff) is “Mr. Sports”. We watch a TON of football, basketball, and golf on television. I’m not a big TV person, so guess who controls the remote? Although the games don’t always hold my attention, I love being with my husband, and the stories behind the sports are intriguing to me.
For the first time in my life, I watched the majority of the NCAA basketball championship when my beloved Tar Heels were not playing. I must admit, there were some really good games. Jeff must be rubbing off on me because I was out to dinner with a friend on Saturday night and the restaurant had the Virginia vs. Auburn game on. As the game drew to a close, everyone’s eyes were locked on a television…including mine. (Whaaat?)
Not only was I watching the game, but when the controversial foul was called on Auburn, I turned to my friend and said, “Virginia is going to win, Kyle Guy has like an 80% free throw shooting percentage”. (Did I just say that?) Yes, I did and I was right. Kyle Guy, Virginia’s guard, has an 82% free throw shooting percentage. He hit all three of the free throws he attempted and Virginia won. Virginia will play tonight in the Championship game.
As Virginia advanced through the tournament, I became interested in their “story”. This time last year, the Virginia team was sitting at home. They made history as the first number one seed to lose to a number sixteen seed in the first round of games. OUCH.
Virginia had one of those devastating losses, just like the losses in real life that follow you into the next season.
Before every game, a sportscaster mentioned their loss from last year. Yet, Virginia kept playing and kept winning with the help of a foul, missed free throw by their opponent, or a last-second buzzer basket.
I’m excited to watch tonight’s game. I’m excited because Virginia’s season has reminded me of God’s redemption.
Last year this time, I am sure the Virginia players could not imagine they would be in the final game this year. Yet here they are. (The first time since 1984.)
Virginia is going into the final game not in spite of their huge loss last year but because of it. They learned from their loss, made changes, and became stronger as a team because of what they went through.
When asked about their loss last year, Virginia’s coach, Tony Bennett said this:
“…when you’re put in a spot like that – and there’s a lot worse things – but it makes you rely upon what matters. What’s unconditional in your life. That’s, for me, my relationship with my wife, my parents, my kids, but the greatest joy that I know is my relationship with the Lord.”
This year, Coach Bennett was asked how it felt going into the 2019 championship final game. He answered the question with a quote from his father (Dick Bennett) who is a former basketball coach:
“From a feeling state, euphoria…yes it is. But it doesn’t compare with faith, with kids, family, grandkids. Because I know what truly matters it enables me to enjoy what seems to matter…like this.”
Our losses have the ability to give us the same clarity Coach Bennett spoke about. Circumstances change but God does not. Because He is the same today and tomorrow and next year, we can always depend on Him.
And this I pray, that your love may abound more and more [displaying itself in greater depth] in real knowledge and in practical insight, so that you may learn to recognize and treasure what is excellent [identifying the best, and distinguishing moral differences] Philippians 1:9-10a AMP
Learn to recognize what really matters!!!
What is excellent?
Your loss was not a setback….it was a SETUP for God’s redemption.