Annual Army vs. Navy game always has me sitting in front of the television

Published 2:33pm Monday, December 23, 2013

On Saturday, Dec. 14, I had the opportunity again to watch one of my favorite sporting events on television.

I am talking about the annual Army vs. Navy football game, which pits the United States Military Academy Cadets against the United States Naval Academy Midshipmen. This year, the Midshipmen beat the Cadets 34-7.

Both institutions have storied football histories and former All-Americans. Cadet stars included All-American running backs Felix “Doc” Blanchard and Glen Davis, who were known as Mr. Inside and Mr. Outside. Also with them was All-American running back Pete Dawkins.

Among the Midshipmen All-Americans was quarterback Roger Staubach, who quarterbacked the Dallas Cowboys to great success following his Naval career, and running back Joe Balino

This year’s Army Navy game was played in Philadelphia. It was particularly meaningful because it came during the 50th anniversary year of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, who was a Naval officer.  Consideration was given to canceling the Army Navy game after that fateful day 50 years ago. They did postpone it, but decided to have it later than regularly scheduled.

The decision to play the game came when President Kennedy’s widow, Jackie, reminded everyone that the late president was a Naval officer and would have wanted the game to be played. With her blessing they went on and played the game in the late president’s honor and memory.

This past Saturday, the coin that President Kennedy was going to flip before the game 50 years ago was brought back and flipped prior to this year’s game.

One of the traditions I always enjoy on Army vs. Navy game day is watching the Corp of Cadets and Brigade of Midshipmen March into the stadium, trying to out-perform each other.

Another tradition I always enjoy occurs after the game. The Corp and Brigade go over to their classmates in the stands and jointly sing each academy’s alma mater. When they are in front of the Cadets’ stands, the Cadets sing out front and the Midshipmen sing in the rear. When they are in front of the Midshipmen’s stands, the Midshipmen sing out front and the Cadets sing in the rear.

Senior players on the Army and Navy teams won’t immediately have an opportunity to play professional football. Instead, they will be spread out around the globe protecting the many freedoms we enjoy each day as American citizens. Their dedication and commitment to duty is something special.

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