By Al Henkel, NBC News producer
Lily Flynt proudly screamed that at me Saturday night in Alpine, Texas. I could barely hear her over the screams of the other football fans in the stadium. The object of her attention is #49, Mike Flynt, who was finally playing out his final year of eligibility at Sul Ross State University. He's been nursing an injury and was finally getting into a game. He just put a great block on a lineman coming in to try to block an extra point. The lineman Mike blocked is about the same age as Lily. You see, Mike Flynt is 59 years old.
I'll repeat that. He's 59 years old.
A former strength coach at several large universities, an inventor of exercise equipment, Mike is still as strong and as fast as he was more than 30 years ago, and playing at the same weight as he did in college. His coach says he's one of the strongest men on the team. By the way, Mike is older than his coach. 2 of his 3 children are older than any of his teammates.
Mike was a captain on the Sul Ross football team in 1971, but was kicked out of school before the season started for fighting. That has haunted him for 37 years, how he, in his words, "let his teammates down." During a class reunion last summer, Mike and his buddies were kicking things around, as middle-aged guys like to do, and the question came up about that last year of eligibility. Mike tried out for the team, legitimately made it, enrolled in grad school, moved to Alpine. Lily started college this year, the Flynts were selling the house to downsize, and the timing was great for Mike to live out his dream to play again.
He pulled a groin muscle early in the year and has been rehabbing to get onto the field. Saturday night he played 9 plays, all on special teams because the coach doesn't want him running a lot until the muscle is fully healed. Mike should get in at linebacker, his true position, at some point this year.
I love this story. Mike has a fascinating story, living out a dream for a lot of us middle-aged guys. Don Teague and I will bring you this tonight.
Oh, and did I mention Mike's 2-month old grandson Collin was also there?