Passion Doesn’t Have an Age Limit

Passion Doesn’t Have an Age Limit


Ray Ruschel is 49 years old. He is an Army veteran and he currently serves in the Army National Guard. He works 8-12 hour shifts as an industrial mechanic on the graveyard shift. He is a divorced father of two full-grown children. This would be enough to occupy the time of most humans.

However, Ray always had a dream. His whole life, he wanted to earn his college degree and play nose tackle on a college football team. So, at the age of 49, he enrolled at North Dakota College of Science and walked on to the football team.

At first, the players thought he was another coach, but he proved he was serious. Ray showed up every day, practiced hard and made a commitment to the team. Head coach Eric Issendorf said, “He kept coming back and coming back. He wouldn’t go away.” As a result, Ray made the team, becoming the oldest player in NCAA football this year. He also became an inspiration to his teammates. You see, if he could work a 12-hour shift, get 4 hours of sleep, go to class, do homework, lift weights and put forth maximum effort at practice, the 18-year-old freshmen had no excuses.

With Ray playing the role of team leader and backup nose guard, NDCS won their conference championship and qualified for the junior college playoffs.

Joe’s Perspective: So, why would anyone volunteer to put themselves through such an inhumane daily schedule? The only answer can be passion. Ray wanted this gig so badly that he was willing to sacrifice any sense or normalcy to achieve his dreams. “I want to live life,” Ray said. “If I had the chance and didn’t take it, I would regret it. I had a chance, and I’m taking it, and I’m living life to the fullest.”

If you are reading this blog post, you are undoubtedly a 13-18 year old student-athlete in high school. If you are a senior in high school, you might even be thinking that this year could be your last chance to make your dreams come true, at least in sports. However, Ray should teach you that if you have the desire, the dream and the work ethic, you can accomplish much more than you think.  High school is just the beginning.  You have a long life ahead of you. The important thing is to stay hungry and tackle life with passion each and every day.

Your Turn: What are the one or two things that inspire you to get out of bed each day and be the best version of yourself?

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  1. if i get out of bed and hit my goals i’ll get validation and compliments and that makes me happy and being lazy makes me feel gross so it keeps me going when i get out of bed and be the best version of myself.

  2. What inspires me is my mom because at one point in her life she had 4 kids, worked 2 jobs, was going to nursing school, and her husband was in prison. She made it work and never crumbled. Another thing that inspires me is my boyfriend. I know cliché. But he always tells me I’m perfect and that I deserve any and everything. He truly is my number one cheerleader.

  3. The fact that I don’t want to have a boring life either doing nothing or just working inspires me to be the best version of myself now.

  4. my nana is a two time breast cancer survivor and if she can put up her best fight and achieve victory what’s stopping myself; a perfectly healthy person?

  5. Working hard to complete my work so I can reward myself by spending time with my friends helps me wake up and be productive in the morning. Also working hard in honor of my mom who died to be everything she wanted me to be is another reason I wake up every morning trying my best.

  6. My future is something that inspires me. The career path that I want is something I am passionate about and I want to benefit society with it. I also want to be a college athlete. That inspires me to get up everyday and train, go to practice, and keep up with my academics.

  7. The two things that inspire me are the opportunity to learn new things every day and my friends. They make life fun and enjoyable and a little less stressful.

  8. The two things that inspire me are the opportunity to learn new things every day and my friends. They make life fun and enjoyable and a little less stressful. I think sports are a good stress reliever.

  9. One thing that inspires me the most to get out of bed each day is my determination. No matter how much sleep I got the night before or how much is going on in my life, i’m always determined to be the best student, athlete, and teammate I can possibly be.

  10. If something makes you happy stick with it doesn’t matter how old you are and this guy was inspiring improving that doesn’t matter how old you are you can still do the things you love

  11. One thing that inspire me to get out of bed everyday is my future I want to be something in life and do big things so I always try my best to get there