This One’s for You, Vince

Navy’s 46-44 football win over Notre Dame is one of those moments best shared between fathers and children. Such a tremendous, against-the-odds victory of a relatively small, over-achiever like Navy over a force-of-nature like Notre Dame is a celebration of hope, promise, and life’s limitless possibilities — so often unspoken yet somehow understood between generations.

Vince was a gifted athlete and sports savant. He could flawlessly recite any roster and any score going back to the late 1930s — maybe earlier. Football. Baseball. Lacrosse. College. Pro. Navy. Army. Did not matter. He barely got out of high school, joined the Navy, and served in the Korean War. He was brilliant, but isn’t that often how children see their fathers?

He was extremely patriotic, and he loved the Naval Academy. Maybe it’s a Baltimore thing. He was in awe of the midshipmen and any graduate, and he and I became closer after I entered. He especially loved Academy sports and the young men who played them. We’d go to Navy lacrosse games — he’d go crazy. One year I took him and my mother (they had divorced decades earlier) to the Army-Navy game. It was the best time the three of us ever had together. When I was away, Daddy and I would talk about games via phone; they were the only thing we ever really talked about.

Naval Academy sports made him happy.

So when I reached for the phone to call him about this amazing and important victory over Notre Dame, for a moment I had completely forgotten he had now been gone almost seven years. “Inside the Headquarters” hopes you can share what we cannot.

This one’s for you, Vince.

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