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Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014

Persistence pays for Vietnam vet

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Sometimes sports stories transcend sports.

The story of Alan Moore is one of those stories.

He's the 61-year-old kicker for the Faulkner University Eagles in Montgomery, Ala.

That's right: Moore is three times the age of his teammates on a football squad in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.

His path to the team is just as unconventional as his presence on it.

He grew up kicking footballs in his granddaddy's front yard, lettered in four sports in high school and played for a championship football team at Jones County Junior College in Mississippi before serving 11 months in the Vietnam War.

Following his service, Moore opted for starting a family rather than returning to school.

He worked his way up to a superintendent position in a construction company but was laid off in February of 2009.

While visiting his grandchildren in Mississippi, he watched a football game at his alma mater and starting "Jonesing," pun intended, to kick competitively again. So, he bought some footballs, donned his old-style kicking shoes and started practicing on a goal post he erected in his daughter's yard.

Jones didn't have a spot for more, but he was able to play at Holmes Community College in Goodman, Miss. as a 60-year-old before going on to Faulkner.

"I was skeptical," Faulkner coach Greg Baker said. "I didn't realize his reasons for doing this, but who am I to stand in the way of his dreams? He said, 'My true intention for doing this is to get back in school and show these guys to never give up on what it is they want.'"

Whether he cared about records or not, Moore became the oldest college football player, beating out Tom Thompson -- who kicked off once at NCAA Division III Austin College in 2009 -- by a couple months.

He has no chance at becoming the oldest college athlete ever. That distinction belongs to Ken Mink, who scored a couple points on the basketball floor for Roane State Community College in Tennessee at the ripe age of 73.

Moore doesn't seem to care about that, anyway.

"It's not about me, and it's not about being old. It's about the team," he has been reported as saying.

Nonetheless, Moore is a source of inspiration.

"You've got to believe in what you're doing and you have to be persistent," he said.

In addition to Moore's age, his service is definitely significant.

"Here's a 61-year-old Vietnam vet that's coming back to kick in a college game, something he didn't get to finish up," coach Baker said. "How can you not fall in love with that guy?"

Though various reports about Moore have not mentioned it, the applause he has received when kicking extra points and field goals is likely a vast departure from how he was welcomed home from war.

Moore represents veterans every where who are striving to be good examples while continuing to reach for their goals.

Moore likely won't see this column but, hopefully, other veterans will.

To all of you: Thank you for your service, your sacrifice and the example you have, and continue to, set for younger generations looking up to you.



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Gabe Licht
Junior Moments