I want to admit up front that I am and always will be a die-hard Alabama fan, but I also really enjoy watching college football no matter who is playing. Saturday night I got to watch the fourth quarter and the overtime period between Auburn and Clemson. This was a fantastic game between two teams with a little history between them. Auburn made the plays necessary to come back from a 17-0 deficit at halftime and they won the game 27-24 in extra time. It was a well played, hard hitting, southern style football game. The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat played out in a truly classic fashion. At the end of the game the head coach at Auburn University was interviewed. Coach Gene Chizik seems to be an admirable man. He has every right to express his joy over a thrilling victory, and as a fellow Christian it is exciting to see a believer have success. But I was sad to hear the response of this man in front of a national audience.
When asked about the game he responded, "This was a God thing. I told our guys that they had to keep the faith and they kept the faith the whole game." This was what he said on the field to the reporter immediately after the game. So he got emotional and said something he probably would have rephrased given another opportunity, right? Wrong! After speaking with his team, he conducted his post game press conference. These were his opening words, "I told our kids this was a God thing. They kept the faith the whole game..." Wow. I am hurt to see and hear this type of confused statement.
It would be much better to have a coach who never mentioned God, than to have a coach who abuses the name of the Lord in this fashion. There are 105 Auburn football players who have been told by their head coach that God beat Clemson for them. They are now left to believe that God is for them because of their "faith." So what about all the Christians on Clemson's sidelines. Are they to believe that their faith is not good enough? Is Dabo Swinney not as holy and faithful as Gene Chizik? Did Clemson lose "the faith?" This is the type of abuse that cause non believers to scoff at Christianity. No, it would have been better if coach had simply said, "I am so proud of the way our guys kept fighting tonight. They played with great character, and they displayed mental toughness when the going got tough. Clemson is a great team and we are glad to get out of here with the 'W'." That is a great after the game response from a classy coach. Now he can preach the gospel and live the gospel for his players Sunday - Saturday and they are not confused about what "the faith" is and who God is!
Yes, I would rather have an atheist coaching my children than a man who seems to confuse the gospel with winning a football game in overtime. And it would be better for all of us trying to preach and live the gospel in Alabama if the coaches at our Universities stayed away from such grand standing in the future. Maybe he will get it right next time but for now we will have to deal with the fall out from a ridiculously sad comment.
P.S.- Before you say I am making a big deal out of nothing, it is already making the media rounds. Last night about 10 minutes of a 30 minute show on ABC 33/40 was dedicated to this comment. It was not positive in any shape or fashion. The media members of "The Zone" were mocking Chizik and Christianity. It was heart breaking. Talk to you later...CW