My Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad High School Football Career

The good people over at have published an essay I wrote about being a terrible high school quarterback, and by terrible, I mean maybe the worst ever.


8 thoughts on “My Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad High School Football Career

  1. tdp says:

    “I prayed for wins after I stopped praying for anything else.” – just fantastic writing. Thank you for this.

  2. Thomas Twombly says:

    Very well written! I played against you back in the day while I was at MCI and always looked forward to the matchup. Though you guys never were able to put up much of a fight, I never once had one bad incident of unsportsmanlike conduct involving your team. More than a couple teams did not lose with as much grace as your program, and even with more talent. I was happy to see Bapst return to glory while I was serving in Iraq so far away and mused at how funny highschool football can be in the turnaround of programs from year to year. I think how we handle success is extremely important, but how we handle our failures speaks volume of out character on and off the football field. Again, awesome article, and I’m honored to have played on the same field as such a talented and poignant writer.

    • Josh Keefe says:

      Tom Twombly, I definitely remember you. I mean, not personally, but I remember you running all over us and the rest of the LTC. I actually talked to Coach Bill Cowan when doing some research for this (he gave me some great quotes that unfortunately were cut from the final piece) but I remember telling him that of all the teams that really crushed us, you guys were by far the best sportsmen. Playing teams like Stearns was a nightmare, because we knew we were not only going to get killed, but we were going to be insulted and mocked by the players and fans alike. You guys were so good, and yet really, really humble and gracious. That’s a pretty remarkable thing for a bunch of dominant high school athletes.

      I’m really glad you liked the story, and I’m very humbled by your comments. Thank you. I’m glad you made it back safe from Iraq and I wish you nothing but the best.

  3. Corey Liknes says:

    Hey Josh, really great story! After reading it on Slate yesterday I suggested it to, who have linked to it today. One of the best pieces of writing I’ve seen in a very long time… congratulations!

  4. ranelagh75 says:

    What a great piece. I played football for Bapst in the early 1990s under Don Cornett and then Bill Cowan. Our records weren’t stellar and we never made it very far, and our lessons learned sound a lot like the ones you spelled out. What a nice and powerful memory jog, especially this one:

    “On the bus ride to our practice field (which was on the campus of a mental hospital) we cheered wildly at every red light and stop sign because each second we were delayed meant one fewer spent at practice.”

    How very true. I remember it like it was yesterday, although I thank God that I will never repeat it. Thanks for posting.

    John Flemming ’95

  5. Mike Klug says:

    Enjoyed the article. You may have been a bad player on a bad football team, but you have risen above it all. Wishing you continued success….

  6. Melanie Salonen says:

    Sigh, and I was the worst football mom ever. The pain I felt watching my son, quarterback for a small high school team, thrust into the position as a sophomore because an upper classman quit the team of 25 kids, was unmeasurable. After a time, I stopped praying for a win, and only prayed that he would walk off that field after each game. Your article brought back so many painful memories, and yet, reminded me that he too is the person that he is through the adversity that he faced. In the end, I couldn’t be more proud!

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