Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. What’s Still Great About Sports

 

PHILADELPHIA - DECEMBER 8: The offensive line of the Army Black Knights gets set to snap the ball during a game against the Army Black Knights on December 8, 2012 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Navy won 17-13. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)

A contemporary sports fan with a brain surveys the pro and college sports landscapes and is forced to consider, “is this really worth my time, money, and energy?”

Astronomical salaries, lunatic agents, endless analysis, coaches who think they’re Patton, and fans who feel every blown call is a grounds for an appeal to the Supreme Court — it all takes its toll.

And then there is the Army-Navy game.

This weekend, Philadelphia welcomes the two service academies for their 85th consecutive meeting (116th overall). In the stands you will not find a more congenial, good-natured group of fans anywhere in the country. On the field you will find patriotism, respect, fair play, and hard tackles.

The game this year pits the shockingly good Navy Midshipmen (9-2) against the Army Black Knights (2-9) who, unfortunately, are still struggling. No matter. These two squads will go at it tooth and nail. The players care deeply, and will give 100 percent on every play, every minute, and every hit. When the final whistle blows, they will shake hands, jog to each other’s sideline, and sing the school anthem.

And then they will get on with their lives, either as officers in the Navy, Marine Corps, and Army, or back to class in one of the most rigorous academic environments in the country.

As a fan, who can’t but admire the passion, the commitment, and the purity of the endeavor? Who can’t but be glad that this game goes on and still holds sway over our country? Critics may dismiss the game as not the highest quality football. They could not be more wrong.

There are 49 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. MLH Inactive

    Huzzah! Go Navy!

    • #1
    • December 11, 2015, at 1:56 PM PST
    • Like
  2. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHillJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Navy will sport the best helmets in all of football this weekend. Hand painted, each class of ship has a desingated postion on the field.

    badass

    And since the USNA is going for its 14th straight win… May the 14 be with you!

    • #2
    • December 11, 2015, at 2:01 PM PST
    • 1 like
  3. Annefy Member

    Go Navy! Beat Army!

    Attended the 2010 game. Son #1 was in 13 Company. Traditionally they are not allowed on USNA campus the day before and the day of the game. They leave USNA in Annapolis on Friday morning, carrying the game ball, and relay run it to the stadium. Somewhere there’s a pic of him carrying the ball while smoking a cigar.

    In 2010 we had the added benefit of sitting next to the Army fans and got to share with them the thrill of a rare touchdown.

    Can’t wait to watch tomorrow’s game at my favorite pub here in Cali – it’s my annual cure for cynicism.

    • #3
    • December 11, 2015, at 2:35 PM PST
    • Like
  4. Hoyacon Member

    There used to be a lot of talk about “pageantry” in the college game. Now, it’s which semi-pro team is going to play for the national championship.

    Well, here’s some pageantry, and a different kind of championship. Go Cadets; it’s time.

    The Navy QB is quite a player, but Army’s defense sees essentially the same offense in practice. Hope springs eternal.

    • #4
    • December 11, 2015, at 2:53 PM PST
    • Like
  5. Umbra Fractus Coolidge
    Umbra FractusJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    It’s a shame they can’t both lose. #AirForce

    • #5
    • December 11, 2015, at 5:08 PM PST
    • 1 like
  6. Wolverine Inactive

    I will be at the game. Bringing my 10 year old son. Can’t wait. I want to show him what a wholesome rivalry feels like.

    • #6
    • December 11, 2015, at 5:19 PM PST
    • Like
  7. MLH Inactive

    Umbra Fractus:It’s a shame they can’t both lose. #AirForce

    Hahahahaha

    Air Force Falcons 11 – 33 Navy Midshipmen

    I say again: huzzah!

    • #7
    • December 11, 2015, at 6:22 PM PST
    • Like
  8. Profile Photo Member

    Hate to harsh everyone’s mellow, but USNA vs USMA is not what you may think it is. Navy has sold out it core values and mission to produce a winning DIV1 football team as opposed to career motivated unrestricted line officers. West Point still strives to produce Army Officers. It is no longer a fair fight, and the results back that up. I say this as a 27 year veteran submarine officer-though not a boat school grad.

    • #8
    • December 11, 2015, at 7:15 PM PST
    • 1 like
  9. Lash LaRoche Inactive

    Here are some Army and Navy cheerleaders:

    armycheer

    navycheer1

    • #9
    • December 11, 2015, at 7:39 PM PST
    • 1 like
  10. Hoyacon Member

    555DBF:Hate to harsh everyone’s mellow, but USNA vs USMA is not what you may think it is. Navy has sold out it core values and mission to produce a winning DIV1 football team as opposed to career motivated unrestricted line officers.

    I’m not pro-Navy (see my earlier post), but I’d say an accusation of this nature could stand a fair amount of support/links etc.

    • #10
    • December 11, 2015, at 8:04 PM PST
    • Like
  11. MLH Inactive

    Mike LaRoche:Here are some Army and Navy cheerleaders:

    armycheer

    navycheer1

    Are they Mids and Cadets or borrowed?

    • #11
    • December 11, 2015, at 8:06 PM PST
    • Like
  12. Lash LaRoche Inactive

    MLH:

    Mike LaRoche:Here are some Army and Navy cheerleaders:

    armycheer

    navycheer1

    Are they Mids and Cadets or borrowed?

    Mids and Cadets, as far as I know.

    • #12
    • December 11, 2015, at 8:08 PM PST
    • Like
  13. Hoyacon Member

    Mike LaRoche:

    Mids and Cadets, as far as I know.

    How cool is that?

    Whatever you say, lieutenant!

    • #13
    • December 11, 2015, at 8:19 PM PST
    • Like
  14. Umbra Fractus Coolidge
    Umbra FractusJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Mike LaRoche:Here are some Army and Navy cheerleaders:

    navycheer1

    I call shenanigans. Those girls are way too small to be in the Navy.

    • #14
    • December 11, 2015, at 8:26 PM PST
    • Like
  15. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHillJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    555DBF: Navy has sold out it core values and mission to produce a winning DIV1 football team as opposed to career motivated unrestricted line officers. West Point still strives to produce Army Officers.

    About 1/3 of the kids on Navy will eventually raise their hands and take their oaths as Marines. I’d put up any and all against a West Pointer any day.

    • #15
    • December 11, 2015, at 8:27 PM PST
    • 1 like
  16. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHillJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    MLH: Are they Mids and Cadets or borrowed?

    According to the USNA everyone on the Cheer/Spirit squads are Middies. And they are expected to buy their own uniforms!

    • #16
    • December 11, 2015, at 8:31 PM PST
    • 1 like
  17. Profile Photo Member

    Hoyacon

    Fair enough-I posted from my phone and did not build a case. I will attempt to gather data/links for consideration and post them here. My point is “inside baseball” for the Navy officer community. Not sure how much others care or are concerned about Navy football and its implication for the USNA officer accessions.

    Midshipmen bear no responsibility for the actions/decisions of their seniors-Go Navy, Beat Army! Wish the Midshipmen and the Cadets the best of luck tomorrow – but I’ll pull for the underdog! We are all joint now!

    • #17
    • December 11, 2015, at 9:23 PM PST
    • Like
  18. Man With the Axe Member

    Remember Joe Bellino? He won the Heisman playing for Navy in 1960.

    Screen shot 2015-12-12 at 5.54.55 AM

    Look at those calf muscles.

    • #18
    • December 12, 2015, at 2:56 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  19. MLH Inactive

    Man With the Axe:Remember Joe Bellino? He won the Heisman playing for Navy in 1960.

    Look at those calf muscles.

    That’s funny interesting about the socks being too tight.

    Maybe if the recruited sports stars absolutely had to fulfill their AD requirement 555DBFs complaint/argument would fall flat.

    • #19
    • December 12, 2015, at 6:35 AM PST
    • 1 like
  20. Profile Photo Member

    Hoyacon,
    Sorry if this is too lazy/easy way out – Single link to CDR Sal, who has been covering DIV 1 football and the service academies for some time:
    http://cdrsalamander.blogspot.com/search?q=academy+football

    Series of articles and links to issues relating to USNA mostly; some guest posts by former Mids, current officers, etc. Professor Bruce Flemings is an outspoken critic of USNA policies but I believe he has tenure protection – not popular with the flag officers-if you are interested and have time he has a pretty harsh view of D1 football at Navy. As Sal says “The issue is the compromises made with the Devil to play D1 football.” Westpoint has not gone as far down that path as Navy. The Cadets are at a significant disadvantage.

    Good luck to them.

    • #20
    • December 12, 2015, at 8:25 AM PST
    • Like
  21. Hoyacon Member

    555DBF:Hoyacon, Sorry if this is too lazy/easy way out – Single link to CDR Sal, who has been covering DIV 1 football and the service academies for some time: http://cdrsalamander.blogspot.com/search?q=academy+football

    Thanks. I appreciate you following up.

    • #21
    • December 12, 2015, at 9:18 AM PST
    • Like
  22. Doug Watt Moderator

    Go Navy! My earliest memories are of Navy life. My dad left the Navy when I was about seven years-old. At that age I thought everyone was in the Navy or the Marine Corps. I remember watching Army-Navy games with my dad, mom, and my brothers. Home life revolved around the submarine. Family meals in the wardroom when dad had the duty when the boat was in San Diego. Saying good-bye when the boat left San Diego and waiting to greet the boat when she returned home.

    • #22
    • December 12, 2015, at 10:56 AM PST
    • Like
  23. Al Sparks Thatcher

    FightinInPhilly: As a fan, who can’t but admire the passion, the commitment, and the purity of the endeavor? Who can’t but be glad that this game goes on and still holds sway over our country? Critics may dismiss the game as not the highest quality football. They could not be more wrong.

    555DBF: Hoyacon, Sorry if this is too lazy/easy way out – Single link to CDR Sal, who has been covering DIV 1 football and the service academies for some time: http://cdrsalamander.blogspot.com/search?q=academy+football

    As 555DBF notes, it’s not as pure as the original poster implies. I read the link he provided, and it all sounds plausible to me.

    I have a separate post on the subject of the Air Force Academy and how it recruits for its hockey team. So the problem of U.S. military academies recruiting players for a specific sport isn’t limited to football or the USNA. My service was the U.S. Coast Guard, and I remember a graduate from that academy say that it was a problem with their basketball team.

    The suggestion by cdrsalamander that the academies be limited to NCAA Division III is a good one.

    The corruption of sports recruitment and how those poorly performing students are retained in the military academies is minor compared to Division I schools in general. But I wouldn’t hold the academies up as a shining light for the other schools to emulate either.

    They just aren’t as corrupt. Which come to think of it, the U.S. military in general can be described that way as well in relation to their civilian counterparts.

    • #23
    • December 12, 2015, at 1:09 PM PST
    • Like
  24. Al Sparks Thatcher

    Mike LaRoche:

    [bunch of cheerleader photos]

    Mids and Cadets, as far as I know.

    It doesn’t exactly meet the feminist ideal. Nor does it fit with my ideal of what an officer in training should be doing, male or female.

    • #24
    • December 12, 2015, at 1:50 PM PST
    • Like
  25. Al Sparks Thatcher

    Man With the Axe:Remember Joe Bellino? He won the Heisman playing for Navy in 1960.

    Look at those calf muscles.

    Yet he doesn’t fit the ideal of the student athlete the academies project. Like Roger Staubach, he did the minimum of service, and then went into professional football.

    They both belonged in ROTC, because that’s actually the ideal they met.

    • #25
    • December 12, 2015, at 1:55 PM PST
    • Like
  26. Joseph Stanko Coolidge
    Joseph StankoJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Umbra Fractus:It’s a shame they can’t both lose. #AirForce

    Ah, but they can. If Army somehow pulls off the upset, there will be a 3-way tie in the service academy games and as defending champ Air Force will retain the CiC trophy.

    Therefore: Go Army!

    • #26
    • December 12, 2015, at 3:30 PM PST
    • 1 like
  27. Hoyacon Member

    Congrats to the Middies, but kudos to the Army defense for keeping them in it. They left it all on the field.

    • #27
    • December 12, 2015, at 4:20 PM PST
    • 1 like
  28. Hoyacon Member

    [Double Post]

    • #28
    • December 12, 2015, at 4:20 PM PST
    • Like
  29. BrentB67 Inactive

    Umbra Fractus:It’s a shame they can’t both lose. #AirForce

    They have a team?

    • #29
    • December 13, 2015, at 5:04 AM PST
    • Like
  30. 4CuriousJohn Thatcher

    For the money play the BIG ten should bring in Army And Navy it would be a BIG increase to viewership of big ten games and the big ten network.

    • #30
    • December 13, 2015, at 5:08 AM PST
    • Like

Comments are closed because this post is more than six months old. Please write a new post if you would like to continue this conversation.