You were Nothing but a Winner, Coach
Jim Grammer, When it was a game
The book I Ain't Never Been Nothing but a Winner, written by Creed and Heidi Tyline King, is a collection of 323 great quotes by coach Paul "Bear" Bryant.
There are so many famous, down home type sayings by Coach Bryant that they were made into a book.
One of these quotes has great meaning to me: "Never be too proud to get down on your knees and pray."
I remember Coach getting down on his knees and praying – I was there.
I was very impressed early in my days at Alabama when, during one of our team meetings before a coming game, Coach Bryant told us that we couldn't conduct a team prayer before a game. You may see many teams praying in the dressing room before games, but Coach told us that the reason we didn't pray before a game was because it was too easy for someone to ask God for a victory.
I remember another statement that never made it into the book. Coach said, "the God I believe in is not in the business of handing out victories or favors, but does provide opportunities."
He went on to emphasize that we had been provided a great opportunity, and that God left it up to us as to what we did with it.
I must admit. It took me too many years to fully understand what he meant.
He meant the Almighty places us in many situations in life and provides us with the ability to do good. He doesn't necessarily grant favors to those who ask for them, but provides opportunities for one to do what needs to be done.
Coach went on to say the first thing we, as a team, do when we get back in the dressing room after a game is go down on one knee and "thank the good Lord for the opportunity he gave us."
We thanked him win or lose.
He gave us the opportunity and it was up to us as to what we did with it, but we thanked him anyway. We didn't thank him for a win, just the opportunity to win.
I've tried to remember what Coach told me way back then. I still think it holds true today and I think it always will. At times, when I get down, and I think nothing is going my way, I try to remember what Coach taught me – The gift God gives us is the opportunity to make something good out of ever situation and what we do with that opportunity is up to us.