Entertaining real-life stories with valuable lessons on how to succeed in business and in life
Entertaining and compelling real-life stories. The author is successful business, real estate, and media entrepreneur Dick Kazan.
Published on January 24th 2023
49-year-old Ray Ruschel, college football's oldest player.

Ray Ruschel
Ray Ruschel Photo: nfldraftdiamonds.com

A defensive lineman, Ray's teammates at North Dakota State College of Science were stunned when they saw him receiving his uniform.

He is 30-years-older than most of them and older than their coach.

Why would a man almost 50 play such a brutal sport?

(Story continues from "Read More")

"I love the game of football and just wanted to play," Ray told The Washington Post. "I figured this was my opportunity. If I tried and failed, "I'd have at least tried."

Ray Ruschel
Photo: ndscs.edu

It is unusual for a night-shift worker his age to enroll in college, but he did so hoping to qualify for management by attaining a two-year degree.

"When I decided to get an associates degree and found out there was a football team, I got to thinking about it," said Ray. "And I decided, 'Why not?'"

He now wears unform No. 94, the reverse of his age.

It had been 30-years since Ray played football, high school football. After graduating, he joined the Army, and he is now a 17-year active member of the Army National Guard.

In 2018, he settled in Wahpeton, North Dakota an hour drive from Fargo, and worked the overnight shift as a mechanic at Minn-Dak Farmer's Cooperative, a major sugar beet processor.

Ray is the father of two, each of whom is older than most of his teammates.

Ray Ruschel
Photo: nypost.com

He loves surprising other teams.

"I know I'll get a lot of weird looks, and somebody will say, 'Man, look at that - they've got an old dude on the team.'"

"That always makes me laugh," Ray said. "And then, I play harder."

Editor's Note: To learn more washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/2022/09/15/ruschel-north-dakota-college-football/, wkyt.com/2022/09/10/im-having-blast-49-year-old-college-freshman-makes-football-team/, ndscs.edu/ and video here.

In the next KazanToday: Rescuing senior dogs, and their senior human companions.


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