Sunday, December 13, 2015

Slum and Gravy

It's hard for me to believe that Army's losing streak to Navy now extends to 14 years. As one of the greatest rivalries in college football, my disappointment as a die hard fan is amplified because of the national attention this one game of our entire season receives. The losses throughout the year to teams I think we should beat are hard, but being on a national stage and having to now hear ad nauseum about the squids' success over so many years has become too much to bear.

So I'm calling it now. Army wins in 2016.

Of course, Army/Navy isn't just about the game - it's much bigger than the 3.5 hours on the gridiron on Saturday. When you're a cadet, there are spirit missions, Go Army cake on the tables in the mess hall, and now, the Patriot Games on Friday before the game where Cadets take on Midshipmen in all kinds of feats of strength. I guess it's kind of like Festivus in uniform.

As an Old Grad, over the years, my Grey Hog-ness has grown. I've gone from simply making sure I was on the couch to watch the game to, this year, rocking the black and gold every day for the week leading up to the game. Whether at work, at the gym or out on my Saturday run, I was doing my part for the Army team right here in NW Arkansas.
My nails even got in on the action:
The best part of the week, though? I wasn't alone in my Old Grad shenanigans. On our private Facebook page, I and my fellow USMA '97 classmates pulled out our swag, our gear, old cadet uniforms, PMI cards from our cadet days, even our old cadet HP calculator (that an astonishing number of people still use on a daily basis more than 20 years later). Seeing pictures of my friends and being reminded of the immutable and unchangeable bond we have because of our four years together at the Academy was our collective spirit mission for the week.

I'm grateful we had the laughs during the week because almost 24 hours now since the game closed, I'm still mad. Not at the team, not even at the coaches. I am not saying it was a moral victory - THERE IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR VICTORY - but I love my Army team no matter the score. They played hard; they made me so very proud to be a Grad. I'm mad simply because I refuse to accept that we can't beat them.

So I won't accept the naysayers' gloom and doom. We WILL beat them. Next year. The streak will end.

On, Brave Old Army Team.

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