By Susan Motander with a great deal of help from Judge Salvatore T. Sirna, Los Angeles Superior Court.
The “Bowl Season” will be starting next weekend, but this weekend begins it for me and my family. This is the weekend of the Army-Navy Game. And we are a house divided. Sure there are lots of divided households here in Southern California over the UCLA-USC weekend, but that divisiveness spreads nationwide for the Army-Navy Game.
I am an Army brat. I married a Jarhead, er ah, a Marine (sorry, early training comes out). Therefore, we rout for opposite sides for this event. When we first got together we had a standing bet on the game. Loser had to do the winner’s bidding for one hour. Fortunately we stopped that about 12 years ago after an Army victory was shortly followed by our sewer backing up and my husband having to spend his hour of penance cleaning up the spillage. It was lucky for me in that Navy has an 11 year winning streak going.
But this year, things looked better for Army. Unfortunately, Army’s best running backs are now out of play. Drat. However, predictions based on earlier performance have no meaning in this game. A winning season for Army can be a 10-1 if the one is against Navy.
I decided to ask a friend his view of the game. You see, he played for Army in this game several years ago and still goes back to West Point every year for the alumni game. My friend is now a Superior Court Judge and the following comments come from him, from Salvatore Sirna:
“The 114th Army-Navy game will be telecast at 12 PM (PST) on Saturday, December 14, 2013 on CBS. For graduates of West Point and Annapolis, the annual meeting is much more than a football. Aside from being one of the most traditional and enduring rivalries in college football, the game showcases the best and brightest college students America has to offer. While most college football players dream of careers in the NFL, the football players from Army and Navy who will take the field on Saturday in Philadelphia, PA have a much greater calling – a calling to a lifetime of selfless service to our nation and it military.
“The Black Knights of Army enter the contest at 3-8, the Navy Midshipmen at 7-4. If you have followed the game over the years, however, you know that records mean nothing. These football players play this game for each other and for a lifetime of bragging rights, the winner singing their alma mater last and placing a coveted “gold star” on their letterman’s jacket signifying the win over the other team.
“Army and Navy have played three common opponents this year: Air Force, Hawaii,
and Western Kentucky. Navy beat Air Force and Hawaii in home games, 28-10 and “42-28, respectively, while losing to Western Kentucky, 19-7. Army lost on the road to Air Force 28-42 and Hawaii 42-49 in a close, competitive game, while losing 21-17 to Western Kentucky at home.
“Factoring in the home field advantage Navy enjoyed, the differences between Army and Navy is negligible. For certain, neither team enjoyed much success on the road this year, especially Navy whose losses were all away games. Lincoln Field in Philadelphia, referred to as a neutral site, definitely favors Navy and the numerous recent victories they have enjoyed at the field.
“Navy leads the country in fewest penalties per game and fewest turnovers given up. The Navy team is disciplined and surgical in its approach. Army likewise is disciplined and sits in the top 10 in fewest penalties per game. The Army team has explosive, big play ability as evidenced by Army’s 1,000 yard rushers this year, Terry Baggett. Army ranks 6th is total rushing yards, Navy 7th.
“The statistics show the physical differences between the team is insignificant. This game will come down to who wants it more, who makes the least mistakes and who plays with heart. Navy knows how to beat Army, but the Army team comes into the game hungry to end the 11 year win streak Navy currently enjoys. Expect both teams to play hard-nosed football.
“And, if anything is certain with this game, it’s this – America wins. Those who watch the game will be treated to a true display sportsmanship, players playing for the love of the game, and a glimpse at the next generation of future leaders. It doesn’t get much better than that!
Yeah, Sal also said it is all about the current players and the current game, not that of the alums. It was with that thought that he ended his comments with praise for both teams.
I am not so unbiased. It has been more than a decade since Army sang last (it is tradition that the players of both teams sing their alma maters together with the losing team singing first). I think we have waited long enough.
And so I will end this piece with my feelings: GO ARMY! BEAT NAVY, PLEASE!