Joel McHale… Football Jock?

This is not a shot of an upcoming episode of Community (coming to Yahoo Screen in 2015) but a real live photo of Joel McHale dressed in his Washington Husky football uniform.  This isn’t new news but I was pleasantly surprised to learn this tidbit of info while watching the Rich Eisen show (Joel was a guest host).  Below are his comments from an ESPN interview which gives some additional insight into this alternate universe… enjoy.

joel mchale football university of washington

 

Joel McHale: I had been recruited to row at the University of Washington and I only played one year of football in high school. I got into a fight with the crew team over not pushing in a chair properly. They have all these rules I never figured out. The freshmen shave their hair and eyebrows off and throw all that hair into a pillow. They have a whole display case full of hair pillows from over the years, which is a wonderful thing to look at. This friend of mine, we’re surrounded by [the crew team] and got into a fight. That was pretty much the end of that.

McHale: I really didn’t know what I was doing. It was not smart. It was one of those things where I didn’t know how long I could do this for. And then I turn around and all of a sudden, six months had gone by. I had gained a bunch of weight, I was in much better shape and I was really enjoying it.

McHale: The university had a healthy walk-on program because Don James, the coach, felt like you create the competition that will push the scholarship players to work harder. As a walk-on, you’re friends with the other guys — but you don’t have a scholarship so you kind of felt like you were members of the Dirty Dozen or the Bad News Bears.

McHale: I was very good at making the defense look good when I was on scout offense. I knew how to crumple really well and get tackled.

McHale: What happened was: You’re running the plays for the other team. If the play is successful, you run it again. The first time we ran it, the ball was thrown my way, I caught it and Dave Hoffmann leveled me. Then you hear, “We’re doing it again.” The wind has been knocked out of me and has not come back yet. We run this play again. I catch the ball — same thing, Dave levels me. So I got the wind knocked out of me twice. And then they wanted to run the play a third time, I don’t know why. I look up and I can’t breathe. I look at Dave and he’s looking at me and says, “You’re okay.” I just basically ran off the field.

I started in January of 1992 and left in August of ’93. There’s a side of me that would have loved to play. The time spent there I felt was very precious and I learned a ton. I was doing school, I was doing football and I was doing theater and those days really taught me about work ethic and what you have to do: You have to work really hard at the thing you love doing to be able to do it.