While watching the annual Army – Navy football game last Saturday, the Greatest All Time Rivalry, I began to wonder what makes this game so special. Is it the tradition, the pageantry, the sea of cadets and midshipmen in the stands, the sky darkened when the victors throw their hats? What is it?
My Dad, a WW II Navy veteran, wouldn’t miss the Army – Navy game for the world, no matter how mad my Mom got for the time he spent watching football. So, as a kid, I watched the game too, but never thought it was such a big deal — two lousy teams playing in the snow. My favorite part, as a kid, was occasional shots of the Army mule and Navy goat. Geez, what kind of mascots are those?
Over the years, the game has grown on me, not because I served in the Army, but more because of what the game stands for. It’s the game, not the players. It’s the team, not the individual. I’m a rabid college football fan, but I have to tell ya, I get tired of all the hot dogs you see in college games today. But, you don’t need a gallon jar of mustard to watch the Army – Navy game; you won’t see any #1 fingers pointing to the heavens, chest thumping gorilla imitations, or muscle flexing. All you see is teamwork, dedication, commitment, duty, honor, unit pride, and sportsmanship.
The Army – Navy game is the epitome of student athletes. In fact, they’re more than just students, they are soldiers, freedom fighters, future military leaders who happen to be in school. The only thing waiting for these players after their college eligibility is six more years of military service, yet they play their hearts out for the love of the game and the commitment to their team. Nothing beats an Army – Navy game. Nothing!
Thought for the Day: Gentlemen, it is better to have died a small boy than to fumble this football. John Heisman