It’s easy to get frustrated with the team you love, to be bummed out by less than stellar appearances on the field or games that get lost all together. Most of us have experienced that in some form or fashion this year especially, as the Frogs dropped two early contests and came dangerously close to a third in Lawrence over the weekend. But Monday night, we were given a healthy dose of perspective, as a TCU Football player was celebrated for his accomplishments off the field - works that will last long past his, or any player’s, football career.
Caylin Moore is one of the founding member’s of TCU S.P.A.R.K., a campus organization whose mission is:
... to develop leadership in Student-Athletes at Texas Christian University as well as bridge community relations between the athletic program and the surrounding community. Also, we are looking to inspire the youth to rise above their circumstances, build bridges to success and ultimately spark a change in their communities. This organization will speak with local youth (elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, community organizations) about the importance of education, reaching back to your community and staying on a path towards success.
Moore has grown SPARK from a good idea to a booming program in a period of just months, with the support of TCU staff and faculty, as well as dozens of athletes. The student-athletes speak to youngsters across the metroplex, sharing their stories and struggles and hoping to show them there is hope if they work hard, get an education, and stay out of trouble.
The idea came to Moore just hours after TCU’s dramatic come-from-behind victory against Oregon in the Alamo Bowl, and maybe it was that rising from the ashes moment that inspired him to give hope to the next generation. Whatever it was, it was powerful enough to thrust him out of bed.
“One night, right after the bowl game, the idea of helping the youth and leaving a positive legacy hit me so strongly that I woke up out of my sleep at 3 a.m., and I just put a pen to paper and started writing out the schematics,” said Moore.
He called TCU football teammates Aaron Curry and Michael Carroll that night with his idea. The next morning, he contacted numerous other people to get his organization started.
Now, less than a year later, he is being recognized as a finalist for one of the most prestigious off-field honors in all of college football, as he is one of just 24 finalists for the 25th Anniversary Allstate Good Works Team. Moore was surprised Monday night in front of teammates, friends, and media, when he was presented a trophy commemorating the honor in a sepcial ceremony after the Southside Hornet’s practice.
Having survived bouts of homelessness and nights falling asleep “in puddles of sweat” due to doing hundreds of pushups to quell his stomach pains from hunger, Moore, a transfer from Marist College, is now making a difference in hundreds of children’s lives in his community, sharing his message about the importance of hard work and education. Having spent time as a janitor to pay his expenses, Caylin understands the value of the right mindset.
“I had the mindset that when I’m mopping and sweeping, I want whatever spot I’m mopping and sweeping, people are going to come across and say Caylin Moore must have been there because that is spotless,” he said. “Because everything he does, he does to the best of his ability.”
The Good Works Team looks to recognize players and coaches annually that go above and beyond to serve their community, and Moore certainly fits that bill. It was stunningly obvious watching him speak to and interact with members of the Hornets Youth Football Team Monday night that he has a true passion for service and the kids he meets. Moore hopes to grow SPARK from a TCU organization to a Big 12-wide group, and eventually, go national. He has applied for multiple scholarships, including the Rhodes, Marshall, and Mitchell scholarships, to pursue his dream of impacting public policy and educational policy and making a difference on a larger scale, post graduation.
While it’s easy for us to get annoyed or upset with what happens on the football field, it’s important to remember the impact that these young men are having off the field too. Caylin Moore, and the rest of the SPARK team, are doing more for young kids than any win could possibly do, and it was awe-inspiring to watch them in action. I encourage you to take a few minutes and see for yourself:
The Allstate AFCA Good Works Teams® were established in 1992 by the College Football Association, recognizing the extra efforts made by college football players and student support staff off the field. AFCA became the governing body of the award in 1997 and continues to honor college football players who go the extra mile for those in need. Allstate worked to present the award starting with the 2008 season. The SEC leads all conferences with 67 selections to the Good Works Team since it began in 1992. The SEC is followed by the Big 12 Conference with 48 selections and the Atlantic Coast Conference with 37 selections. Georgia is in first place with 17 honorees to the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team®. The Bulldogs are followed by Nebraska with 14 honorees. Super Bowl XLII, XLVI and XLI champion quarterbacks Eli and Peyton Manning were members of the 2002 and 1997 Good Works Teams®, respectively.