On New Year’s Day, 1929, Georgia Tech played UCLA in the Rose Bowl. In that game a young man named Roy Riegels recovered a fumble for UCLA. Picking up the loose ball, he lost his direction and ran sixty-five yards toward the wrong goal line. One of his teammates, Beeny Lom, ran him down and tackled him just before he scored for the opposing team. Several plays later the Bruins had to punt. Tech blocked the kick and scored a safety, demoralizing the UCLA team.
The strange play came toward the end of the first half. At halftime the UCLA players filed off the field and into the dressing room. As others sat down on the benches and the floor, Riegels put a blanket around his shoulders, sat down in a corner, and put his face in his hands.
Just before they left the locker room to go back out on the field, the coach told the team that the same players that started the first half, would start the second half. The players all ran out the door and headed back onto the field, all of them except Roy Riegels. The coach looked back and called to him and said, "Roy, didn’t you hear me? The same team that played the first half will start the second. "Roy Riegels looked up, his cheeks wet with tears. "Coach," he said, "I can’t do it. I’ve embarrassed you. I’ve embarrassed the university’s reputation, and I’ve embarrassed myself. I just can’t face that crowd out there."
Coach Price reached out, put his hand on Riegels’ shoulder, and said, "Roy, get up and go back out there. The game is only half over."
Riegels did what his coach told him to do. He went back out onto the field, and the fans saw him play harder and better than he had ever played before.
We all mess up from time to time. We all stumble and fall, and when we do, we need someone to do for us what Coach Price did for Roy Riegels. We need someone to put their arm around us and encourage us to get up and get back into the game because it’s not over yet.
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