SHERMAN, TX - He's a full time student, father of four and the oldest player on Austin College's football team. At the age of 61, Tom Thompson is going into this Saturday's final game hoping to score one for the team.
"I'm out there running with them and doing the drills and everything and I think that's added to their respect for me because they know I haven't tried to cut any corners," said Tom Thompson, a kicker for the Kangaroo football team.
At 61 years old, Thompson says he's kicking it old school.
"My football paradigm is forty years old, I played high school football, I was a back up kicker, so I actually had to learn how to kick all over again,” explained Thompson.
He gets to the training room an hour and half before football practice starts and to start his warm up. And he kicks a few over the goal posts before the rest of the team is even out on the field.
"He's worked hard at it, he's gone through a lot of hard work and a lot of pain to be able to do this,” said Austin College Head Football Coach Ronnie Gage.
Even though he's old enough to be their father, the guys on the team say he's just like one of their own.
"I literally have good friends who are 40 years younger than me, how do you do that?" said Thompson of his teammates.
And Thompson's hard work and training from last year and into this season will be put to the test at this Saturday’s final season game against their rival Trinity.
"It's a big game and we're going to get him in and try and let him kick. He may not live to see his next birthday if he misses so he might want to think about it before he goes in there,” joked Gage with Thompson at Tuesday’s practice.
But no matter what happens at Saturday's game, Thompson says he's already won in the game of life. He said his goal of making the team wasn't the fulfillment of a long lost dream from his college days though.
"Even when we're older we can have a place of relevance I mean, if you talk to my teammates they'll tell you I'm just one of them and I've learned from them and actually grown from having been around them,” explained Thompson.
And for Thompson and the rest of the Kangaroo football team, the journey has made this season one they'll never forget.