November 26, 2019
On Nov. 16 the college football world was shaken when Heisman candidate and starting quarterback for the No. 5 University of Alabama Crimson Tide, Tua Tagovailoa, suffered a season-ending hip injury in the second quarter of Alabama’s game versus the Mississippi State Bulldogs.
Tua had successful hip surgery Nov. 18 and most are hopeful his future in football will continue.
But football isn’t the No. 1 priority of Tua’s life — it’s his Christian faith.
Just like folks don’t understand Coach Nick Saban’s “process” and why his method of coaching yields the kind of results it does, the same goes for Tua’s ultimate mission for the gospel.
As much as fans want to praise him and slap him on the back, it really isn’t about football or the acclaim that comes with it for Tua. Sure, football is the medium by which Tua delivers his message, but it’s about sharing the gospel with the world. And it’s about having the biggest platform to be able to do that. Alabama football has provided him such a podium.
His parents, Galu and Diane Tagovailoa, have instilled in Tua the belief that his mission transcends the game itself. They are careful this is done not in a self-important way or a way that says, “I’m better than you,” but rather by offering a lost world an invitation to something better than it is currently offering them. Simply put, the Tagovailoas want others to taste the sweetness of things eternal.
Tua wants to tell others the type of abundance that’s readily available in this life if they only believe. And his mission is to use his podium to affect as many lives for the gospel as he can.
When the Tagovailoa family moved from Hawaii to Alabama in 2017 they were purposeful in that decision and certainly football played a factor. But in an interview with WBRC’s Rick Karle in October 2018, Galu publicly stated the family’s main purpose in being in Alabama is to have a platform to praise Jesus Christ.
“We’re here because it’s bigger than football,” Galu said. “It’s so much bigger than football.”
Every day, win or lose, the Tagovailoas keep their eyes fixed on that purpose. Accolades and the shiny accoutrements of football success may inevitably come, but the mission, invisible, remains steady.
“Football is not everything, it’s a part of what the mission is,” Galu said. “The mission is the platform. To praise our Lord and Savior. What Tua has done or is doing is nothing compared to the real reason why we are here.”
Since the 2nd-and-26 walk-off chunk to DeVonta Smith in the 2018 National Championship game, Tua Tagovailoa has absolutely exploded. But his platform has grown too.
A few weeks after the jaw-dropping performance on Jan. 8, 2018, Tua gave his testimony at a Disciple Now event at First Baptist Church, Tuscaloosa.
“Tua was a surprise guest speaker … so to say our students were excited would be an understatement,” said Jody Gambrell, student minister at the church.
Though Tua’s football career is temporarily on hold, the Tagovailoa family will continue leaning on their faith and trusting God.
“We have total faith in God’s plan for Tua and we know His plan is never wrong,” they said in a statement. “God’s grace, mercy, love and faithfulness in our lives has never been more evident despite this setback.” (Al Blanton, TAB)