We’ve often talked about how great it is to live in Monmouth County. We have the Jersey Shore at our fingertips, and between the ferry, the train and the excellent highway system it’s a snap to get into New York City to enjoy its shows, restaurants and museums. However, we’re also fortunate to live so close to Philadelphia.
Yesterday my family and I attended the 113th Army-Navy football game. Although I’m a big fan of college football, I’d never attended an Army-Navy game before this one. My entire family and I were very impressed and really enjoyed the game. We got to the stadium before noon so we could watch the “March On”, in which all the midshipmen of the naval academy and then all the cadets of the military academy marched onto the field in formation. How impressive it was so see all those young men, standing straight and tall, “dressed and covered” in line after line!
After the March On there were a series of light-hearted videos poking fun at each of the two branches, “Don’t join the Navy- Go Army!” and “Don’t join the Army- Go Navy!”. Then, after both teams had warmed up, both came back on the field through parallel rows of cadets and midshipmen to thunderous applause from the spectators.
The 1st quarter turned into a defensive struggle, with both sides moving the ball but unable to put any points on the scoreboard. Then in the 2nd quarter Navy scored the first touchdown to take a 7-0 lead, but Army came roaring back with a touchdown of its own. Navy added an extra 3 points with a field goal and it looked like they would take a 10-7 lead into halftime. However, just before the half ended, Army had a chance for a 42-yard field goal; the ball hit the left upright and bounced through the goal posts, leaving a 10-10 tie at the half.
The second half was just as exciting. Army had another field goal in the 3rd quarter and took a 13-10 lead. In the 4th quarter a 49 yard Navy pass set them up to score another touchdown, bringing them ahead 17-13 with 4:41 left in the game. Near the end of the 4th quarter, Army moved the ball all the way to the Navy 14 yard line, and it looked like they might be able to score the winning touchdown. On the next play, 1st and 10 from the 14, the handoff between the Army quarterback and the full back resulted in a fumble; Navy recovered the fumble and ran out the clock to maintain its victory. What a wonderful game it had been!
As a retired Army officer I had been cheering for an Army victory, but I left the stadium with nothing but good thoughts about the game and how it had been played. What summed it up for me was hearing a song that I learned in grade school but haven’t heard in a long, long time: Columbia the Gem of the Ocean. Some of the lyrics include, “Thy banners make tyranny tremble” and “The Army and the Navy forever, Three cheers for the red, white and blue!”. If you’ve never heard the song before (or if, like me, you haven’t heard it in a long time), click on this YouTube link and then click again when you see “Show more” to see all the lyrics: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evYfXBoN9cU.