The Army – Navy Game is Much More Than Just a Football Game
“On the fields of friendly strife are sown the seeds that on other fields and other days will bring forth victory.”
General Douglas MacArthur
Every year in early December the Cadets of Army meet the Midshipmen of Navy for a football game where the very best America has produced is on display. These young men on the field are cheered on by the entire Corp of Cadets and the Brigade of Midshipmen, men and women who are committed to serving their country for five years after their four year stint at the service academies. Upon graduation, many of them go straight to the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq as Second Lieutenants or Ensigns in a commanding role.
They are well prepared for their roles after stringent training at the academies which is augmented by the teamwork and discipline exercised on the gridiron. Game plans formulated and executed on the playing field are analogous to battle plans. The camaraderie and the bond forged during the football season by those who wear the Army and Navy football uniform are like that enjoyed by those who wear the country’s uniform. Both bonds usually last a lifetime.
The game can also create bonds of a different nature. My father, who had a lifelong love of West Point, took me to many Army football games as a child and the pageantry and spirit on display made such an impression on me that I applied for admission. Only a fractured spine from an accident kept me from realizing my dream of attending, but I still watched every Army-Navy game with my father since 1964. Today was the first time I watched the game without him as he passed away this summer. The game was something special that we shared and it was strange to experience it without him. What made it even more difficult for me was that today would have been my father’s 90th birthday.