On New Year’s Day, 1929, Georgia Tech played UCLA in the Rose Bowl. In that game, a man named Roy Riggles recovered a fumble for UCLA. Somehow Riggles became confused and started running 65 yards in the wrong direction. One of his own teammates finally outdistanced him and tackled him just before he scored for the opposing team. When UCLA attempted to punt, Tech blocked the kick and scored a safety, which was the ultimate margin of victory.
That strange play came in the first half, and everyone watching the game was asking the same question, “What will the coach do with Riggles in the second half?” The players filed off the field and went into the locker room and sat down on the benches and the floor—all but Riggles. He put a towel around his shoulders, sat down and put his face in his hands.
A coach usually has a great deal to say to his team during halftime, but that day Coach Price was quiet. No doubt he was trying to decide what to do with Riggles. Then the timekeeper came in and announced that there were only three minutes left till playtime. Price looked at the team and said simply, “Men, the same team that played the first half will start the second.”
The players got up and started out—all but Riggles. He didn’t budge. The coach looked back and called to him again. Still he didn’t move. Coach Price went over to where Riggles sat and said, “Roy, didn’t you hear me? The same team that played the first half will start the second.” Then Riggles looked up and said, “Coach, I can’t do it to save my life. I’ve ruined you. I’ve ruined the University of California. I’ve ruined myself. I couldn’t face that crowd in the stadium to save my life.”
The Coach said, “Riggles, get up and go on back. The game is only half over.” And Roy Riggles went back, and those Georgia Tech players will tell you that they never saw a man play football like Roy Riggles played in that second half. What a coach!*
Read Romans 3:10-12, Romans 3:23 from your Bible.
We’ve all gone the wrong way. Sometimes these are unintentional mistakes and sometimes they are willful disobedience. But, like the coach in the story, God gives second chances.
In life, are you running the wrong way? Are you ready to turn around? Are there sins in your life that you need to turn from and from which you need to ask God’s forgiveness? How can you share God’s love and forgiveness with others?
What prayer requests do you have for yourself and others?
1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us the sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
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