March 13, 2009
While college students across the country enjoy their spring breaks lounging poolside, Longhorns senior quarterback Colt McCoy will once again use his respite from school and football to give back. The 2008 Walter Camp Football Foundation National Player of the Year and Heisman Trophy finalist heads off to do missionary work in Peru this weekend. It's the second straight year that McCoy, who received his booster shots for malaria and hepatitis in preparation for the trip earlier this week, will spend his spring on a mission.
"When I went last year, I was thinking I was going there to give back, to help others, but they gave me so much more," McCoy said. "These are kids that don't have anything, yet they're happy with everything they do have and so appreciative that we're spending time with them. The smiles they bring to you are so rewarding that it makes any challenges of getting there all worth it. It definitely taught me to count my blessings and appreciate what I have."
Texas' all-time winningest quarterback with 32 career victories, who also owns 42 Longhorn school marks, will fly to Lima, the capital and largest city of Peru, on Saturday then travel to Iquitos, the largest city in the Peruvian rainforest. With temperatures rising to nearly 100 degrees and high humidity, his group will then head by bus along muddy, unpaved roads through the Amazon Basin to various villages and camp locations where they will work with hundreds of young children.
"It's going to be a lot of fun," McCoy added. "We're going back to a couple of the same villages on the Amazon that we visited last year and are going to a couple other places that I've never been. We'll have an interpreter and teach them the game of football, play sports and share in our faith in bible studies. I really made a great connection with some of the kids over there so hopefully I might see some of the same faces and meet a lot more. I'm really looking forward to it."
McCoy got his inspiration to do missionary work from his grandparents, Burl and Jan McCoy, who regularly travel to Africa on medical missions. He's learned from his and their experiences how he can better handle his time away.
"I have to be really careful to take care of my body and be sure I'm getting the nutrition I need to keep my weight on and stay in shape," he said. "Last year all I ate was rice and I lost about 10 pounds. By the time I got back, I couldn't even look at rice for like six months. I'm going to do a better job of packing some food this time."
The Longhorns return to the practice fields following spring break on March 24.