Former Grand Junction QB speaks proudly about life to fellow Tigers

As a slideshow from the football season flashes across the wall beyond him, Dr. Doug Musgrave talks to the Grand Junction High School football team about how it’s okay to lose but not to quit during the team’s banquet Friday.

Grand Junction football coach Robbie Owens’ opening statement at the Tiger’s football banquet Friday night summed up the evening’s keynote speaker.

Owens said when he arrived at the school in June he wanted to build a tradition, but then looked into it and realized he didn’t have to build a tradition because it already was there.

That being said, Owens took over 20 years after Grand Junction won its last state championship in football. So it only seemed fitting to bring back the quarterback of the 1988 team to speak at the banquet, Doug Musgrave.

Musgrave is currently an Orthopedic hand surgeon in the Portland, Ore., area and said he was approached by Owens to speak.

“It is fun to come back and help out with this team and maybe provide some perspective I didn’t have at 18,” Musgrave said. “I still have strong feelings for the high school and only fond memories.”

Musgrave has a laundry list of football honors, including winning the Denver Post’s Golden Helmet award, as well as playing in college for both the University of Michigan and the University of Oregon. Musgrave attended Duke Medical School and has been successful as a hand surgeon. With that, Musgrave focused his speech around how football helped him be successful in life.

“Football is not the end-all. It is not life, but it prepares you for life,” Musgrave said. “What football teaches you is how to win, how to lose and how to come back.”

He then focused on his first point of football-teaching young men how to win, referring to traits a champion possess, all of which Musgrave had as a player.

“A champion does not accept all the credit, seek out all the glory, does not cheat or taunt an opponent,” Musgrave said. “Until we hold ourselves as champions, we cannot be successful in life.”

Musgrave touched on football teaching players how to lose and referenced the World Series champion Philadelphia Phillies losing more than 70 games this past season.

“Football teaches us how to conduct ourselves in disappointment,” Musgrave said. “In the heat of the moment, losing can be hard to overcome, but in reality it is insignificant. Futures don’t hinge on one game, they hinge on long-lasting performances.”

With Musgrave’s final point, the 38-year old said it helped get him through medical school. Musgrave said football taught him how to persevere and allowed him to become a hand surgeon.

“Orthopedic surgery is a competitive speciality to enter in medicine,” Musgrave said. “The Duke surgery department where I attended is notoriously harsh so many of my classmates, despite being very talented, couldn’t withstand that environment and abandoned their surgical aspirations. Having learned my lessons through football, there was no way I was giving up.”

Musgrave also touched on the 1988 season. His message might have been just what Owens was looking to get across to his team, that championships are won in the offseason. Musgrave talked about the struggles he had run into as a sophomore and junior that helped set up his success as a senior.

“My junior year, we went to the 4A semifinals and I had the worst game of my career and we lost because of my dismal performances,” Musgrave said. “The next summer my teammates and I lifted and played 7 on 7, five days a week. We spent countless hours together not just honing our skills, but developing relationships. That next year we went 14-0 and won the state championship. While we had good players, we didn’t win because of the overall talent, we won because of the cohesiveness we created the previous summer.”

Musgrave added it had been two years since he had been back to Grand Junction, and said the bond of the 1988 team made it special no matter how long it is between visits.

“My teammates on that football team many I haven’t seen in years, but when I see them, 20 years could easily be 20 minutes,” Musgrave said. “The bond we formed on this football team made us brothers for life.”


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