Ed Orgeron has always been a talented football coach and an elite recruiter. Six years ago, however, the University of Southern California told Orgeron he would no longer be the Head Coach of the storied USC football team.
Orgeron was devastated.
“My heart and soul were so empty. It was like being a father who is told you can’t have your children anymore,” Orgeron explained.
On the other side of the country, a high school quarterback named Joe Burrow had just finished a record-setting junior season. After being named Ohio’s Gatorade Player of the Year the following year, Burrow would head off to play quarterback at Ohio State University, another storied program.
Burrow was supremely talented, but two years into his college career, he had only started a single game. The Ohio State coaching staff thought highly of Burrow, but couldn’t commit to making him the starter. Burrow knew he had more to offer, so he transferred to Louisiana State University. LSU’s new coach? Ed Orgeron.
It was a marriage of kindred spirits: A talented coach and a talented quarterback who had both been told they were good… just not good enough.
On Monday, the two men who weren’t good enough led LSU to a resounding victory over Clemson in the College Football National Championship game. LSU finished the season 15-0 while Burrow was awarded the Heisman Trophy as college football’s best player. It will go down as one of the greatest seasons a team has ever had in the history of college football – and it was the two castoffs who led the charge from start to finish.
Sometimes, it seems, life gives us second chances.
Wins and losses on the football field may be relatively frivolous compared to the victories and defeats life can throw our way. But LSU’s victory on Monday is a timely example of making the most of a second chance. As we venture through the first month of the new year, may find the courage to make the most of every opportunity we’re given.
Happy New Year.