Last week, I watched my favorite college team, Alabama, secure yet another national college football championship. It was one of the greatest football games I’ve seen: the power plays, the turnovers, the unexpected moments, and the players who pressed through difficulty on both sides of the field.
Many articles and statements have been written about Nick Saban, the Alabama coach who made the difficult decision to change quarterbacks at halftime, from Jalen Hurts to freshman Tua Tagovailoa. This could not have been an easy decision, yet Saban demonstrated yet again the ability to make the tough calls.
What stood out to me during the second half of the game was the now-sidelined quarterback, Jalen Hurts. Many in this position would be feeling a sense of embarrassment or humiliation that he wasn’t able to take the team to victory as he had so many times before. Some would have been angry at being pulled out at halftime in the most public venue possible for a college football player. Jalen, however, showed something different.
As the second half played out, we saw Jalen actively involved on the sidelines, encouraging and supporting not only his teammates, but the freshman quarterback who had taken his place! He not only backed his coach’s decision, but he was “all in” as he cheered on this freshman quarterback that few fans knew prior to the game. He threw his influence and leadership behind Tua, and ultimately the team pulled out a victory in the final moments.
Jalen was a prime example of a true leader, who was about the mission before himself. He exhibited an understanding that many experienced and much older leaders have not yet mastered – that leadership is about investing your life in something bigger than you.