"There's always something special when the service academies play each other that's not in any other game. This is not a regular game and everyone involves knows it."
-- Roger Staubach, former Navy quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner
I got the text last night - "Are we gonna bet on the Army-Navy game?"
My father was as proud a veteran as one could find. He'd enlisted in the Marine Corps before he graduated high school, fought in some of the bloodiest campaigns in the Pacific and came home to marry and have children. He rooted for Navy.
My Uncle - I am his namesake - was an especially gifted man. He played violin so well that he was featured on a Philadelphia radio station (in the '30s that was a major accomplishment). He was bright, so much so that when war broke out and he enlisted in the Army the powers that were kept him home, working to improve tank designs. He talked his way oversees, helping retake the Philippines. He rooted for Army.
They made a bet every year, my dad watching from the living room of a small house in the Philadelphia suburb of Southampton and then Pittsford, NY; my uncle in Michigan, Germany and Colorado. It was a friendly rivalry, the two veterans launching friendly digs as the game progressed. When Uncle Jim passed, a little piece of my dad's joy for life went with him.
I served as an officer in the US Naval Reserve, getting my commission in the late 80s. Daughter Beth enlisted in the Army, and was injured in boot camp. We are veterans, on opposite sides of the coin toss today.
Go Navy! Beat Army!
Her grandpa would be proud.