As is my custom, when my wife’s alarm clock went off at 5:25 this morning, as she headed for the shower I grabbed the remote and turned on the TV to get the latest news from my friend Rob Starbuck on Channel 3. They were doing their sports segment, and I heard Coach Bielema say there was nothing they could have done to prevent the loss at Michigan State Saturday night.
Actually, what Coach Bielema said was more like this – and I’m paraphrasing, but it’s close: “I don’t want to get too spiritual here, but maybe it just wasn’t meant to be. Maybe somebody up there just didn’t want us to win this one”.
Maybe it just wasn’t meant to be? WHAT?
I’m not at all a believer in “if it was meant to be, it will be; if it wasn’t, it won’t happen” because I think it flies in the face of individual effort and is one of those things people tell themselves (and others) after something they’ve wanted a great deal or worked hard for, doesn’t happen. I’m pretty sure God does not get involved in issues involving the outcome of football games or personal relationships or any of that stuff.
So, to hear Coach Bielema essentially say there may have been nothing they could have done to win that game because God may not have wanted them to was a real shocker. Here’s a guy who’s had to prove himself worthy of the job handed to him (unlawfully, by the way) on a silver platter by his extremely successful predecessor (and Coach Bielema has proved beyond any doubt he was worthy), pretty much inferring that the outcome of the Michigan State game was out of his hands.
Coaches work tirelessly to motivate players to give their best and their all every time the ball is snapped; they teach that individual effort must mesh with team effort to achieve a desired outcome; that they must give their all as individuals and as a team to make things happen. So, to hear a successful coach say God may not have wanted them to beat the Spartans really rocked me.
Some may say that I’ve taken the coach’s words out of context, that he was understandably down after such a dramatic ending, that he’s doing nothing more or less than any human does to rationalize a huge emotional hurt, but….this was a public statement, on the record, with the coach fully aware that cameras were rolling, clearly inferring that God may have had a hand in the outcome of the game.
It was a tough and stunning loss, and I’m a Badgers fan all the way, but I think the UW’s habit of dining on cupcakes in the pre-season, and believing their own press clippings after they dispatched Nebraska so easily, may have had more to do with the outcome of the game than the Lord God Almighty deciding to be a Spartans fan Saturday night. I hope that dawns on the coach before they head to Columbus next Saturday.