After 17 years serving in the North Dakota Army National Guard, 49-year-old Ray Ruschel decided to enroll at the North Dakota College of Science and try out for the school's undefeated football team.
"They've all been very receptive of me coming in and playing," Ruschel told KVLY. "At first, they thought I was another football coach on our first day of camp. And whenever I got in line to get pads, they were like 'wait a minute, you're playing?'"
Despite playing against kids who are more than half his age, Ruschel has fit right in and impressed the Wildcats' head coach, Eric Issendorf.
"He's always in a good mood; he's always just Ray," Issendorf, who is one year younger than Ruschel, told the news station. "He's always in a good mood, just ready to work and do what he can for his teammates."
Ruschel is enjoying his time on the football field and is glad he is able to keep up with the other players on the team.
"I want to live life," Ruschel said. "If I had the chance and I 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. And I'm having a blast with everybody playing. Out here playing with these young kids and actually being able to keep up! Surprising myself a lot."
In the first two games this season, Ruschel has a pair of solo tackles and one assisted tackle.