Is it not enough in today’s world to display great faith, model integrity, behave with an irreproachable character, exhibit a determined work ethic, possess a humble spirit of kindness toward others, and have a winning record? That is a pretty incredible list of attributes. I would be proud to be so described. Today, my heart is heavy for a man who has done all of that and undoubtedly more, where in his humility, he wishes for others to remain blissfully unaware. He led by example to instill those qualities in the young men who were his charges and made character development a parallel goal of elite athleticism. The Bulldawg Nation is losing a great man because apparently that was not enough.
Sports can be a metaphor for life. Coaches have the opportunity to teach that hard work and perseverance garners results. They can teach one to be gracious winners and losers, because both will be required in the game of life. They can teach that working together moves everyone forward. They can teach the value of responsibility and owning their consequences. They can encourage giving credit to those who are deserving. They can lead by example. I learned these truths in my own youth through sports, but they were strengthened and underscored during my sons’ growing up years. So much of their time was spent on the practice fields and in competition. We realized, as parents, that we were relinquishing a large chunk of our children’s waking hours to the guidance of another. We entrusted their coaches with our most priceless possessions in the hopes that not only would they learn play the sport, but that their coaches would partner with us in shaping and molding their characters to turn them into good men. Some did just that. Some let us down. I would have given ANYTHING for a Coach Richt in their lives in those formative years. Thankfully, many did have that opportunity.
Sports ARE a metaphor for life. As Coach Richt so aptly replied, Life is about people, not rings. Rings collect dust. It is a sad indictment on our culture that there are those that think otherwise. There is so much more to life than winning a football game. The world won’t be a better place with a few SEC championships under the UGA belt, but it most certainly would be by turning out scores of good men. May Blessings follow Coach Richt.
Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us. ~Titus 2:7-9