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Thursday, Apr. 24, 2014 — RUSSELL SPRINGS & JAMESTOWN, KENTUCKY — russellcounty.net
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In My Opinion ... by Ron Phillips
In Feb. 13 Issue
Russell County News
“Wrong Way Riegels”  

Today our preacher, Wendell Roberts reminded us of the story of Roy Riegels or more commonly referred to “Wrong Way Riegels”.

An article written in 1955 taken from the SI Vault reads… At the 20-yard line Roy Riegels, captain-elect of California's 1929 football team, was running exultantly free and clear. In this Rose Bowl game, of all games, chance had picked him to carry California's destiny—a center, for once he had the ball.

A touchdown lay ahead, but a nagging voice kept shouting at him above the roar of the crowd: "Stop, stop! You're running the wrong way!"

The voice belonged to Riegels ' teammate, Benny Lom, who had been desperately chasing his score-happy captain for more than 40 yards. At the 10-yard line, Lom managed to grab him, but Riegels shook him off. "Get away from me," he shouted. "This is my touchdown." At the three-yard line Lom grabbed him again and this time held on. Riegels finally realized that something was wrong and turned around. But a wave of Georgia Tech men rolled over him, leaving him stranded and gasping on his own one-yard line.

He had run 62 yards in the wrong direction, chased by Lom and an incredulous Georgia Tech team, to produce what was probably the zaniest play in football history. Up in the stands, radio announcer Graham McNamee sputtered incoherently into his microphone: "What's the matter with me? Am I crazy?" He might well have wondered; and he wasn't the only one who did. It was early in the second quarter and Georgia Tech's halfback, J.C. Thomason, had fumbled the ball. Riegels recovered it on the first bounce and started to run with it (which today's rules would not allow), turning toward the Georgia Tech goal. He took a few steps, then spun to avoid being tackled. Suddenly an open field lay before him. The rest is history. Tackle Steve Bancroft, watching him go, yelled to Guard Bert Schwartz: "Boy, am I glad I didn't pick up that fumble! I'd have run the other way!" Riegels ' mistake, which set up the margin of defeat for California, inspired a massive mail.

He was immediately dubbed "Wrong Way Riegels." One letter writer proposed marriage. Others wanted to arrange sponsorship of upside-down cakes, a backward walkathon, a necktie with stripes running the wrong way. Although the 165-pound center put in a fine season with California in 1929 (even making a few All America teams), he remained Wrong Way Riegels. Now 44, Riegels is an executive of a large cannery, lives in a comfortable Sacramento home with his wife and two boys. "I used to be sensitive," he says, "but everybody else thought it was funny and I finally decided that all I could do was laugh with them. Sometimes my 10-year-old son calls me 'Wrong Way Riegels'—and I don't even spank him for it."

It’s been over 80 years since that energetic young football player took a wrong turn and ran over 60 yards in the wrong direction, but in 1991, Roy Riegels was inducted into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame.  He died in 1993, at the age of 84.

I believe someone else is also running in the wrong direction so I will close with an e-mail that I received this week that I felt obligated to share.

It is titled, “LETTER FROM AN EXCELLENT BOSS”   


Dear Employees:      

As the CEO of this organization, I have resigned myself to the fact that Barrack Obama is our President and that our taxes and government fees will increase in a BIG way.

To compensate for these increases, our prices would have to increase by about 10%. But since we can not increase our prices right now due to the dismal state of the economy, we will have to lay off sixty of our employees instead. This has really been bothering me since I believe we are family here and I didn't know how to choose who would have to go.      

So, this is what I did. I walked through our parking lots and found sixty 'Obama' bumper stickers on our employees' cars and have decided these folks will be the ones to let go. I can't think of a more fair way to approach this problem. They voted for change........ I gave it to them. I will see the rest of you at the annual company picnic.

Friends, while the selection method may be different, the content of the letter is certain. Businesses large and small are suffering across this great country.

Our government spending has to stop and drastic cuts must occur!  I thank you all for stopping by to visit. Please remember, the people in Haiti still need you help!


May God bless…

Ron Phillips

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The Times Journal is a weekly newspaper issued on Thursdays. It was first published on October 13, 1949, by Andrew J. and Terry Norfleet.
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P.O. Box 190
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Russell Springs KY 42642
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Russell County News is a weekly newspaper issued on Saturdays, and is mailed free to every address in Russell County, Ky. It was first published on February 1, 1913.
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