Family, health and friendship motivate football throwers to compete in the Missouri State Senior Games

Friday, June 8, 2012 | 8:10 p.m. CDT; updated 8:34 p.m. CDT, Friday, June 8, 2012
Athletes compete in the football distance throwing contest at the Missouri State Senior Games on Friday at the Audrey J. Walton Track-Soccer Field Stadium.

COLUMBIA – The football distance-throwing portion of the Missouri State Senior Games kicked off Friday, with senior athletes from across the country coming to Columbia to take part in the event.

Despite their common passion for the sport, quarterbacks competing for medals in the event came from a variety of backgrounds and were driven to participate by a myriad of motivations.

Former University of Texas quarterback, 75-year-old James Moffatt, wore a 2011 National Senior Games hat and a burnt orange Texas longhorns shirt at Friday's competition. He stood tall, watching other athletes take their turns throwing footballs. Moffatt and his wife, Emma Moffatt, drove from Texarkana, Texas, so that he could compete.

In addition to the football distance throwing contest, James Moffatt is taking part in 13 other events. Ironically enough, his favorite competitions in the games are track events – not football ones.

The idea of a good competition drives James Moffatt to participate in various senior games around the midwest.

"You got to use it or you lose it," James Moffatt said, referring to his arm. "This gives me something to look forward to. I've been a coach and player. Competition is in my blood."

Although James Moffatt is driven by his love of competition, he also seems to enjoy the games' camaraderie. At the games, he sat on a bench under an umbrella socializing with fellow competitor and 18-year veteran of the games Rodger Young.

"The medals are fierce to get," Young said. "But the friendships and camaraderie are more important."

One man, 53-year-old Chuck Donaldson of Lake St. Louis, decided to get involved in the games for the first time after reaching a personal health goal.

"I've always wanted to do the senior games since I turned 50," Donaldson said. "This year I lost a lot of weight and felt comfortable enough to compete."

Family motivates others to participate.

Dave McCoy, 80, of Carthage, said his family is his secret weapon for success at the senior games. McCoy has set various records in football throwing distance and softball throwing distance at the Senior Games throughout the years.

This year, four generations of McCoys are competing with McCoy in Senior Games competitions and Show-Me State competitions.

"The secret is to have a great family to back you up," McCoy said. "I've got five kids that keep me young."

Supervising editor is Greg Bowers.

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