CI Sports Report with Elise Menaker: One More Year

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Back in the 80's men's fastpitch softball was huge in Decatur and Illinois.  Over the years the sport has faded but men haven't stopped playing.  And for one man, even at 66 years old, several kids and grandchildren later, and a serious eye injury, Larry Moffett can't let go of the sport he was destined to play.

His friends call him moo, just like a cow, “Got it from being a cowboy.”

Larry Moffett: He's a farm boy at heart, a caring cowboy

“Don't want her to step on the baby,” he said as he watches over a calf born just two hours old.  “There's your mother calling.”

But when Larry's not on the farm, he's on the field, the softball field.

“My dad played fastpitch and actually I think I was destined to be a fastpitch player because my parents met at a fastpitch ball game,” he said with a smile.

He grew up playing baseball, got a scholarship to Arkansas State where he met his wife of nearly 43 years.

“Now we have grandchildren, so it's been really fun and busy,” said his wife Gayle Moffett.

He started playing fastpitch in the mid 1970's for the Decatur Pride. He retired from that team in 1993.  Since then, the third baseman has played with men around central Illinois and as far as St. Louis.

“Through the whole 80's fastpitch softball was big,” Larry said.  “Fastpitch softball in Illinois was one of the best states you could play in.”

In the early 1980's, the peak of his career, Larry was playing 132 games a summer.

“I remember years ago one of the guys said, ‘What you need to do is quit farming and just play softball.'  I said, 'It doesn't pay that well,' Larry remembered with a laugh.

His mother made him dozens of scrapbooks, “We're opening the memory chest here,” he said as he started to dig through the bins in which he stories them.  Along with trophy, after trophy, after trophy and more scrapbooks. 

At 66 years old, he not done.  “I want to keep making memories,” Larry said.

“I thought after 20 years and we had children and they had activities I thought well, he's going to play a few more years but I did not think it was going to be like 43 years later,' Gayle said with a laugh.

“She says, ‘You're not going to play this year are you?'  I said, ‘One more year.'  And she says, ‘I've heard that song before.'” Larry admits.

“If he enjoys it might as well, and if he's able to, go ahead and do it,” Gayle said.

His only injuries have happened on the farm, the scariest, a few years ago.

“I was at the county fair, tied some calves together because one was real nervous, got spooked and kind of just jumped around me and took off,” Larry described.



One of the calves stepped on Larry's face.  He almost lost his right eye.

“Eighth of an inch,” Larry said was the difference.  “And I still don't have a tear duct,” as he pointed to his eye.

But he has 20/20 vision.

“After that accident, it did kind of re-ignite me and think how much time do you really have?” he recounted.

But for Larry as long as there is softball to be played, “just one more year,” he said.

He'll be on the field just one more year.

Larry has won countless awards and honors including 20 national championships one world championship.  He has three children and three granddaughters.  Even after all these years, he has found a way to balance it all.  Larry now plays about 30 games a summer.

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