While I don’t think God really cared whether Clemson or Alabama won the NCAA national championship football game–he has bigger things to worry about–I do think Clemson Coach Dabo Swinney has learned a powerful secret to success that drove his team to a national title. Love. In the emotional moments immediately after the conclusion of Clemson’s exciting, last-second 35-31 victory over undefeated Alabama on Monday, Coach Swinney said, “I told [my team] tonight, I told them that the difference in the game was going to be love. It’s been my word. My word all year’s been love. And I said, ‘Tonight we’re going to win it because we love each other.'”
Is it really possible that love for one another compelled each of the Clemson players to perform at a higher level? I think it is. In my book, Built to Love, I wrote, “the only commodities humans need are each other and love. Love can grow and harvest better crops, write and paint more enduring masterpieces, better heal the blind and broken, build better businesses, bridges, buildings and everything else we need. We have the knowledge…. [B]ut [u]ntil we choose to love we won’t truly live….When humans value each other as much as God values humans then humans will be divine indeed. The world will be divine indeed.
Can you imagine the world we could build if our hearts were built to love? Can you imagine all of the attorneys that would be out of work? Can you imagine how well we would make our cars, our homes, our clothes and everything else? Instead of trying to make everything for as little money as possible and then selling it for as much money as possible, we would forget about profiting and just try to make things as good as we could possibly make them. Can you imagine the world we could build if our hearts were built to love? People could pursue their true talents if they didn’t have to worry so much about money and making a living. The music would be better. The food would be better. The movies would be better. Everything would be better in a world built to love.”
Instead of economies driven by selfishness and greed they would be driven by love. Perhaps you think this is naive and unrealistic. But, using a football team as a metaphor for life, what happens to a team that’s not really a team? What happens to a team that is plagued with internal conflict, relationship problems, too many egos fighting for attention, individuals looking out for themselves and trying to make themselves look better than their teammates? What happens to a team that has ball hogs, glory hogs and prima donnas? Do those teams have success? What is happening in the world today? Are we playing as a team or are we each looking out for ourselves? What would happen if we “played as a team” and truly tried to help each other be our best and achieve the best? What if each of us could pursue what we were truly excellent at instead of simply pursuing a living? Can you imagine that kind of world?
I, for one, am glad that Dabo Swinney had the courage to speak out and to speak from the heart. I am convinced that the continuity, brotherhood and teamwork that existed on the Clemson football team propelled it to the national title. I am also convinced that Dabo Swinney’s words are a metaphor for life, in general. Love wins. If you don’t believe me, try it. Start by trying to build a family “team” that loves each other, respects each other and helps each other. Focus on that for a while and see if the quality of your life improves. I assure you it will. Of course, you must begin with yourself. You can’t change others. But you can change you. You change the way you choose to feel about others. You can choose love.
Congratulions, Clemson Tigers and Dabo Swinney! Not for the national championshiop, but for choosing love.
Click here to watch Dabo Swinney’s emotional interview: