Alabama freshman quarterback Tua Tagovailoa committed a dunce move (commentators' words) one play before throwing the winning touchdown.
Behind three points in overtime of a game for all the marbles, Alabama was well within field goal range for a tie with still time to go for a touchdown and the win. But after snapping the ball and not finding an open receiver, Tua failed to toss the ball away and got sacked for a huge loss. With one play left, his team was now possibly out of field goal range for even a tie. Then, the very next play, he nailed an extraordinary touchdown throw to end the game and win the national championship.
It was an electric sports moment. And it piqued my curiosity.
I regularly commit dunce moves and then feel drawn in by the blame, guilt, and recriminations that seem to follow. “I should have; he should have; when will I learn?” To me, it often feels like dunce moves carry a busy, unhelpful mind in their wake. There was no way Tua made that throw in that moment on that stage while stewing in dunce thinking. How did he bounce back and move on?
His on field interview shed light on his obvious resilience.
Q: “What were you saying before you took the field [on that last possession]?”
A: “I mean, I didn’t say anything. It was just going back in, just take it a play at a time.”
Resilience involves living in this moment – not processing the past or worrying about the future. The obvious question is: how does one do that?
Q: “Now that you’re a national champion, describe what it means to you in this moment.”
A: “At this moment, it means the world. But at the same time, all glory goes to God. I can’t describe what He’s done for me and my family. Who would have ever thought I’d be here now?”
In other words, “It looks like I ran well, viewed the field well, selected the target well, and threw well, but that’s a mistake. I have no power to do any of that. I try, He does what He wants with me in the moment, and we won.”
Now listen to the flip side of what Tua is saying: “I try, He does what He wants with me in the moment, and sometimes we lose. I don’t take it personally when I win; I don’t take it personally when I lose. I just show up and try, one play at a time.” He blows it and isn’t crushed; then nails it and isn’t arrogant.
You want resilience? Don’t ascribe your performance or experience of life to you, your power, your past, or anything other than what God is making available to you in this moment. Wins and losses, all glory goes to God.