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United Methodist Man Plays College Football at 44; Pursues Lifelong Dream After Injury

 


Contact: Nancye Willis
(615) 742-5406
e-mail:
nwillis@umcom.org

Oct. 1, 2003

United Methodist Man Plays College Football at 44; Pursues Lifelong Dream After Injury

JACKSON, Tenn. – Many young boys grow up with a burning desire to play college football. Some, like Joey Williams, 44, with a wife and four children, never outgrow it.

Last year, he was a 340-pound, self-described “couch potato,” who has since lost weight, enrolled as a full-time student at United-Methodist related Lambuth University, and tried out for the team. Today, he’s a lineman for the Lambuth Eagles.

When he announced his plans, his wife Susan thought he might be in the midst of a midlife crisis. No, says Williams. “I was searching for the fountain of middle age.”

(Joey Williams is featured in “Fountain of Middle Age,” a UMTV video report, the week of Oct. 1. It is available at the UMTV web site www.umtv.org.)

Williams had never lost sight of a long-standing dream. “I needed to feel what it was like to play college football,” he says.

“I’ve had one regret my entire life,” he adds. In 1976, a knee injury sidelined his football career. He had to give up a college scholarship and never got to play.

“For 25 years, I just regretted every football season when it came around, that I did not take that chance and push myself to that next level,” he says.

Williams’ 21-year-old son Kyle, also a Lambuth player, was concerned that his dad might have a tough time in training. “The first morning when he told me to tickle his feet because he thought he was paralyzed, I was kinda scared,” he says of those early sessions.

It’s a hard road Joey Williams has chosen. He works in the mornings, and then heads over to campus for classes and football practice. Those keep him busy until about 10 at night.

“After this experience here, there’s not anything—work, church or life—that I can’t handle now. There’s just nothing I can’t do,” he says.

All in all, he concludes, “There’s not a better life teacher than football.”

Lambuth University is one of 100 colleges and universities related to the United Methodist Church. More information on the university and its athletics programs is available at the school’s Web site, www.lambuth.edu.

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