Tuesday, September 27, 2005

40 Yr Old Walk On Catches Pass For South Carolina


COLUMBIA, S.C. -- It was just a simple pass near the end of a football game in which the University of South Carolina was already assured the win.

But to 40-year-old Gamecocks walk-on Tim Frisby, the catch Saturday was yet another goal achieved in a remarkable life.

Frisby, called "Pops" by teammates and coaches, joined the Gamecocks last season after serving 20 years in the Army.

Getting his degree is the goal. Playing football is an added bonus for the father of six, a dream he held from his days in high school in Allentown, Pa., to his tours in Desert Storm and Kosovo.

Frisby lined up for several plays last year, but the ball never came his way.

But with 3:16 to go Saturday, Frisby lined up, took a couple of steps, turned and caught a pass from Antonio Heffner. He ran, too, gaining 9 yards in the Gamecocks' 45-20 victory over Troy University.

The thinning crowd roared, including wife Anna and a couple of his children, as Frisby pumped his fist and walked back to the huddle for the next play.

"It's something I've always wanted to do and I did it," Frisby said.

Frisby's goal just took a lot longer to achieve.

After graduating from high school, Frisby joined the Army and stayed for two decades, jumping from planes for survival training, spending a week or two at a time in cold, damp woods.

After Pops retired from the military, he enrolled at South Carolina. Former coach Lou Holtz said Frisby earned his spot on the team and gave him his garnet No. 89 jersey.

The story quickly spread across the country and Frisby was invited to chat about his story with Jay Leno and David Letterman. He has put off offers to make a movie about his life until he finishes playing.

But Frisby refused to be just a novelty: Teammates and coaches say he works as hard in practice as anyone else.

So with the game in hand Saturday, coach Steve Spurrier decided it was time to put Frisby in. His catch came on his first play of the year.

"We got Pops a catch for the record book," Spurrier said.

After the game, Frisby refused to bask in his catch, thanking his teammates for the blocks and Heffner for the pass. But the smile on his face in the TV lights betrayed his measured words.

"This is a start. Hopefully I'll get more this season," Frisby said.

Frisby plans to play through the end of the season, then re-evaluate his football career. By then he expects to be a senior academically, just a handful of classes away from his degree in broadcast journalism.

Pops will be back on the practice field this week, trying to achieve his next goal. "Hopefully, I'd like to get a touchdown," Frisby said. "We'll see how it goes."


lrpatton said...

Great story.

Sounds like "Rudy" got his reward. Hats off to Pops. I hope he scores a touchdown and I will now be watching for him.


ryancharlrs said...

Along with the story of the l;ittle boy namrd Montanna, coming out of Norte Dame, it has been a week of legends.  Well done!