1. This Saturday, I was pleased to watch my beloved Midshipmen beat the Black Knights for the 13th straight year in the 115th Army-Navy Football Game. Army played a fine game, and it was closer than I’d like it to be, though in the end, Navy got the job done. Much respect to both teams. I root for Army every day of the year except for this one, and I admire their tenacity during a long, tough stretch in this storied rivalry for the Cadets. I had two minor annoyances during the game this year. First, I really do not like that Navy has joined the Oregon-inspired fad of changing football uniforms multiple times in a season, and I thought Navy’s uniforms in the Army-Navy Game bordered on being a distracting eyesore. I wondered if the Mids seemed a bit out of sorts in the first half because they didn’t like looking at each other, either. Please, sirs, can we return to the classic Navy Blue jerseys and solid Gold helmets, without additional adornment, next season? The second annoyance came when I went to the gym before the game and picked up our local alternative newsweekly, which contained a really obnoxious preview of the Army-Navy Game, which you can read here, if you want to. The piece was so misguided, so disrespectful, and so lacking in broader perspective that I actually sat down at halftime to write a letter to the editor complaining about it. Harrumph! Take that! Today, though, I received an e-mail informing me that my editorial e-mail was being returned unread, because the newspapers’ inbox was full. Really? Wow, I guess that’s kind of a counter-harrumph. So I’ll publish my thoughts here, instead, just for the record:
Darren Tromblay previewed the Army-Navy Game this week as “the meaningless one that takes place every year” where “all people in the stands are dressed in long coats and wearing hats,” before offering “Don’t care? Join the majority.” I’d respectfully like to note that every player on the Army-Navy field — and all of those young men and women in the coats and hats (they’re called “uniforms”) — will be serving their nation on active duty within the next four years, and that many servicemen and women around the world (and their families at home without them) will pause on Saturday to watch the 115th edition of this great sporting tradition. While those of us who have taken an oath to support and defend our Constitution (including all of Army and Navy’s student athletes) may never comprise the majority of the local football-watching population, dismissing the Army-Navy game and all that it represents as “meaningless” displays a somewhat stunning lack of perspective. Cyclones vs Hawkeyes may be a big, meaningful deal in Iowa (though not elsewhere, sorry to report), but Army-Navy is a truly national sporting event, and it represents the best that college sports has to offer, year after year after year. That’s enough meaning for me.
Sincerely,J. Eric Smith, Navy ’86Des Moines