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Disappointment is a rung on a ladder

may mention a game, but this column is not about Monday night’s Championship Game between Georgia and Alabama.

If the game had been a book, I could say that I read it from “kiver to kiver.” In other words, I watched every play, including that last heartbreaker. Now I know how an Oklahoma Sooner fan felt a week ago. How quickly one can go from the penthouse to the outhouse!

Disappointed? Of course, but I’m pretty sure there are many who hurt more than I do. Like those players and coaches who worked so hard for an entire year only to come up one play short. Grown men were crying, not because they had won, but because it was over! And they had lost.

We, who simply watch the games on television, in our soft recliners and from our sofas, with refreshments fit for a king, are far away from sweaty weight rooms and the hot playing fields of bigtime college football.

I mean I didn’t have to fight a 345 pound freight train of a defensive lineman for the ice-cold Coca-Cola I was drinking. I didn’t risk a concussion or have to complete a 25-yard pass before I could have a piece of peperoni pizza.

I do know, however, that there were plenty of fans who spent a lot of money that was earned by the sweat of their brow and, even though they aren’t the actual gladiators in the arena, they have some skin in the game. Disappointment is real whether you played in the game or rooted for those who played. What to do, now, with that disappointment?

That’s a good and important question because every one of us will experience disappointment at some time. I think a good analogy would be to consider disappointment like the rungs on a ladder. Will you use disappointment as a rung to climb or to descend?

If we look at the Monday game, we can see that Georgia’s obvious disappointment can be used as motivation for the next game. That seems to be what Alabama did.

This time last year, Alabama had been beaten at the last moment by Clemson. They were the disappointed team last year. The players who returned remembered that disappointment and worked hard to get another chance. They made the most of it and it can be said that they used their disappointment rung on the ladder as a climbing mechanism. Will Georgia do the same?

Maybe they will, but even that is not as simple as it may seem. Circumstances beyond their control may prevent them from getting back to a championship game, but that doesn’t mean they can’t use this year’s disappointment as a positive step.

One of the greatest verses in the Bible speaks of disappointment. It’s in the Letter of James and it reads, “Count it all joy when you “experience disappointment” (that is my paraphrase), knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.”

It goes on to say that we are to find patience in our disappointments and through patience we are to keep our noses to the grindstone, working until we find success. It’s difficult to not want to chuck it all in when we don’t hit the heights we seek. Quitting is often more comfortable than continuing.

Alabama did not quit after failure in the Clemson game. Instead, they worked hard and patiently to get back. I’ll be surprised if our former Bainbridge native, Kirby Smart, doesn’t find something valuable in this current defeat. I would think that he and his team will be back. So will I.