The Game That Endures

Us Americans have a few sacred traditions. They’re traditions that endure, but they sometimes need to be modified or done in a more subdued way or even cancelled, like Thanksgiving during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there’s one tradition that can never and likely will never be cancelled: the Army-Navy game. However, a cancellation was threatened after the schools were told that they couldn’t play at Lincoln Financial Field, the neutral location for the game. Fat chance!

Look back at the history of this yearly game, and you’ll see that, rain or shine, this game will always be played. I mean, it was played during both World Wars, so these two military schools aren’t going to let a pandemic stand in their way. So, they agreed that, for the first time since 1943, during World War II, the game will be played at Michie Stadium in West Point (it’s an Army home game this year).

Army athletic director Mike Buddie said, “That’s a must-win game,” as if it hasn’t been in the past. But considering that it’s on their home turf for the first time in the better part of a century, you bet it’s a must-win!

Seriously though, this game isn’t just a matter of pride for the Military and Naval Academies. It’s a matter of national pride as a whole. Obviously, Army and Navy will never be one of the top teams in college football. In fact, if either are ever in the AP Top 25, it’ll be at the lower end. But that doesn’t matter. The pride Americans get from this game has to do with the symbolism of seeing the two biggest arms of our military going head-to-head. It’s not really easy to explain, but trust me, it’s an American thing.

So, when they play the game, once again during a time of national strife, don’t think of it as a simple football game that’ll be over three hours after it starts. Instead, think of it as representative of the will of a nation. Even if the nation is hurt. But it’ll be back. It always finds a way. Just like the Army-Navy game.

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