Price of Admission

Ah, Army-Navy Football. One-hundred-and-eight years and still going. As long as there are the two service academies and football, there will be the Army-Navy Game.

Weird Trend Alert: In recent years, it seems that members of the U.S. Army and U.S. Navy have adopted the teams trying to make them into the Army’s team and the Navy’s team. In fact, one would think this is about THE Army vs. THE Navy, and not the two teams and the schools they represent.

Reality: Well, the Army and Navy are sadly mistaken. There is more to the price of admission to this cheering section.

Here are the rules: To claim either West Point or Annapolis as your team, you have to:
1. Be a student (midshipman or cadet)
2. Be a graduate
3. Be the parent of a student or grad
4. Be the spouse of a grad (and only if you dated while Bif or Buffy was schlepping arms full of books in and out of academic buildings. Former spouses who fit in this category lose this privilege once the divorce is final.)

Harsh? No. Is this any different than the absurdity of non-Notre Damers claiming that football team as their own? What about the legions outside Boston who claim the Red Sox as their team? Yeah, Red Sox Nation is a great marketing scheme, but only the people of Boston can really claim that team as their own. Forty-Niners? They belong to the Bay Area and only the San Francisco side at that. The East Bay cheers for Oakland. Packers? They’re your team if you’re from Green Bay or Wisconsin.

The Army-Navy Game is not an interservice rivalry. It is about two schools. Two teams. Yes, it is more than just a game. It is a tradition. It underscores numerous intangible qualities that many want to claim, but that privilege goes to just a few. Go gnarly, old goats and worn-out mules!

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