Posted Jul 8, 2017 at 4:18 PM
Updated Jul 9, 2017 at 10:06 PM
Mark Prince expects to be emotional on the sidelines at Commerce Bank Field at Foley Stadium in Worcester before his Worcester County Wildcats open their New England Football League season at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 15.
“That’s going to complete the circle after everything I went through,” he said while fighting back tears.
At age 40, Prince has returned to the team after a seven-year absence and overcoming a myriad of health and personal problems that had him wishing he were dead. With the support of family, friends and even strangers, Prince is happy and healthy again, and he hopes he can inspire others. His recent Facebook post of making the Wildcats’ team and the obstacles that he’s overcome drew 365 likes and 305 comments in a week.
“I just want to inspire people to do positive things and never give up,” Prince said while sitting in his living room in Webster last week. “Changing your life around means a lot to me.”
Prince said he spent about two years off and on in jail for traffic violations and assault and battery while working as a bouncer. But after the end of a relationship, the demons overcame him.
“I think it’s amazing,” Wildcats owner-coach Dennis Faulkner said. “Here’s a guy who at one point thought life was over. So here’s a chance to knock off all his past demons and say he’s overcome them.”
Prince is scheduled to start at offensive guard when the Wildcats open their season against the Mass. State Wolverines of South Hadley. What will matter most to Prince that night will be looking up in the stands to see his parents, his wife, his soon-to-be-adopted daughters, his high school football coach, his friends and everyone who has supported him during his tough times.
“If I get hurt and never play again, that would be enough,” he said. Prince doesn’t expect to see his estranged biological daughter at the