One more shot at gridiron glory

February 1, 2008 6:14:31 PM PST
Have you ever wanted to go back in time and relive a great moment in your life? Or how about doing something you didn't do when you were young?In Thursday Night's "A Closer Look", Eyewitness Sports introduces you to a 40-year old Houston man who wanted a final shot at gridiron glory.

"My name is Brad Zucker. I'm 40 years old. I graduated from St. John's in 1986. My high school football number is 88. And it's time for one more game."

Football at 40. It may sound like a Hollywood script, but this story is real. Bellaire resident Brad Zucker decided to celebrate his 40th birthday by going back in time.

"I want to organize 40 year old guys, a bunch of guys from my high school, a bunch of my friends to play in a full-pad football game."

Ever since he graduated from St. John's high school 20 years ago, Zucker says he has dreamed of reliving his old football days.

"We're looking good out here aren't we?" Zucker asks an observer. He was never a star, but still, there's "nothing like being out there on a Friday night, the lights on you," Zucker said.

When he told his wife what he wanted to do ...

"I just thought it was a crazy idea. People were going to get hurt and i didn't think that it was worth doing all that. It just wasn't my dream. Apparently, it was his," Noya Zucker said.

So, Zucker began planning. Before long, he had dozens of middle aged players, coaches, sponsors, even a local high school stadium for the game.

"The response has been unbelievable," Brad Zucker said.

The concern, though, was injuries. So, for two months, they trained.

"They've run us through agility drills and sprints and weight training. And uh, you know, giving us the best chance to come out here and be successful and not get hurt," Zucker said.

Many of them had never strapped on pads before.

"Most of the guys on my team have not played formal ball before," said Charles Katz, a 48-year-old doctor.

"It is a little crazy, but it sounded like a fun thing to do and i'm doing it," said Martin Bronstein, 58.

As game day gets closer the anticipation builds. It's not just about Brad's birthday anymore. It's about bragging rights.

Four quarters, a handful of injuries, a crowd full of fans? and one final shot at being young.

There were no Hollywood miraculous moments, like in "The Best of Times" when Robin Williams caught the winning touchdown. His team even lost. But 40-year-old Brad Zucker says it was just the ending he wanted.

"For now, I am exhausted. I didn't play my best but i got through the game. I made a few plays. Our team didn't win but you know what, I had a blast. I had a ball," Zucker said.

Not only did Brad get to live his dream, he turned the game into a fund-raiser. He generated more than $20,000 for the Make a Wish Foundation.

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