Everybody’s making a big fuss over how cool this year’s Navy uniforms will be while dissing Army’s. Both teams will don special helmets to commemorate the 116th meeting of the military academies.
In a city steeped in history, Philadelphia is hosting the time-honored rivalry between the Midshipmen of the US Naval Academy and the Black Knights of the Hudson.
Yesterday during the Patriot Games aboard the USS New Jersey, the cadets of Army beat the Middies of Navy in a game of tug-of-war. Army insists it’s an omen that the 13-game winning streak Navy has over Army will be snapped.
The game is replete with mascot high-jinks and school pranks. Supposedly one for the ages took place in 1991 according to an archived story published in The Capital which prompted the commandant of midshipmen to create a unique honor called “The Order of the Mule” declaring the exploit to be “in the highest traditions of the naval service.”
No such prank by the Army to steal Bill the Goat from Navy was possible this year since the mascot ate some azaleas which are toxic to the beasts. Bill will be on the sidelines today having recovered after being treated by a veterinarian at the New Bolton Center in Philly.
This year, on lieu of swiping the goat, some brash Army sympathizers had the temerity to paint the bronze seal embedded in the sidewalk outside the Naval Academy dorm black, white and gold with an “A”.
The Army Navy game is packed with pomp and pageantry and pride in the country these young men and women dutifully serve. There’s something compelling about Cadets and Midshipmen marching on the field and the flyovers above the stadium—a testament to the military superiority of the United States of America.
Army is a 23-point underdog. It would be so wonderful if The Black Knights of the Hudson could mule their way to a victory. As one gameday sign read on ESPN’s College Game Day: “The Navy has small decks.” Clever. Very clever.