FAITHFUL ROOTS-IMPRESSIVE FRESHMAN

READ: TITUS 2: 1-8

In the same way, encourage young men to live wisely in all they do, (V. 6)

Tuanigamanuolepola Tagovailoa is the proper name of the impressive freshman quarterback from Hawaii who led the University of Alabama to their fifth National Championship in nine years on January 8, 2018. True, it took guts for the Alabama coach, Nick Saban, to put him in the game in place of his outstanding starting quarterback, Jalen Hurts, who was struggling, but can you imagine the pressure of Tua? You are told at the end of halftime that you would be starting the second half; your entire team is playing well below their abilities; and there is the unspoken expectation that you will lead the comeback. It’s a wonder he could even breathe when he took the field at the packed Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

Young Tua is the oldest of four children born to Diane and Galua Tagovailoa. He was gifted with a strong throwing arm and started playing football at age three. His grandfather, Seu, recognized his talents and immediately began to mentor him by conducting a post-game review of each of his games. Sometimes this review and teaching and encouraging session would last until 3AM. But more importantly, Seu would faithfully pray for his grandson’s talent and well-being. Although not written in the article about Tua in the Washington Post, I suspect Seu spent considerable time reinforcing the foundational roots of his grandson’s Christian faith. Seu played so large a role in Tua’s life, that when he died in 2104, Tua briefly gave up the game of football.

Desiring to honor the legacy of his grandfather, Tua returned to the football field at Saint Louis High School in Honolulu where he was taken under the wing of Marcus Mariotta, who is now the starting quarterback of the NFL’s Tennessee Titans. This enabled Tua to excel and gain the attention of the Alabama recruiting machine. Diane and Galua, recognizing the importance of family unity and encouragement in Tua’s life, moved the entire family to Alabama. To quote Tua, “Alabama is just like home. We go to church every Sunday and everyone treats us like family” and this way before the exciting National Championship Game.

Tua was able to throw the game winning touchdown pass in overtime but not without good coaching; the constant encouragement and advice of starter Jalen Hurts; the dedication and love of his family; and a grandfather who put Paul’s words to Titus and his Christian faith into action. Tua’s post game words put it all into perspective- “With God all things are possible!”

PAUSE FOR REFLECTION AND PRAYER

How well are you planting and strengthening the roots of faith in your family? Will you children someday tweet like Tua, “God Thank you!”

Dear Jesus, use me as your humble servant to encourage and teach my family the true meaning of life with you.