I watched a college football game from last Saturday. I don’t favor one team over the other, and I don’t follow these teams much during the season, but I always try to watch this game and I am intrigued by the stark differences between this game and other games.
* The players were not necessarily the biggest, fastest or most talented in the country, but there were many fine athletes and the game was competitive and exciting. I had the feeling that every player was trying his best to help his team win.
* The game was held just outside of Washington, but within the Beltway, and I am happy to say that for the three to four hours of this game, I wasn’t embarrassed to be an American because of what was happening there. On the contrary, I was proud of all the participants, the fans and everyone involved. Both teams were the fiercest of rivals, but there was no partisan bickering and I didn’t perceive any disrespect between teams. They seemed to genuinely respect and admire the other team.
* The President and Vice President attended – and everyone cheered for them. The teams and coaches were excited because the President was in attendance. The President and VP seemed thrilled to be there and the President looked like he enjoyed spending time and watching the game with the students – half the game on one side, and the other half on the alternate side.
* Both coaches appeared before the game and said how much they respected the other team and the other coaches. They even said that while they have the fiercest of rivalries, deep down, they felt like they were both on the same team.
* Both schools lined up in formation on the field before the game – at the same time.
* Neither team had a winning record this year, one team has won the past 9 contests between them, but there were over 80,000 fans and the teams and student bodies looked as if this was the most important game of their lives. While who would win the game seemed extremely important to everyone in the stadium and their backers, as I watched, I was enthralled with the competition and the game rather than who won or lost.
* There was no trash talking, no hot dogging, no chest thumping, no displays for personal glory. I believe there was only one penalty. After a good play or a score, the teammates would congratulate the person that scored or made the tackle, they’d pat him on the helmet or give him a hug. Then, they’d all run back to the huddle or to their benches.
* Each student body was dressed alike – in smart uniforms, coats and hats, but no face painting, no shirtless weirdos… Both sides had different, but similar uniforms.
* One coach wore a lei around his neck because he is proud of his native state – Hawaii.
* It seemed to me, that every player on the field loved to play the game.
* After the game, each team stood in front of their respective student bodies and sang their school’s alma mater. The other team stood behind them respectfully.
These young people made me proud to be an American.
God Bless our troops, keep them safe and help them keep the high standards they displayed at the Army-Navy game.
Perhaps our Congress and leaders of the political parties could watch this game – together. The football teams and students at the game could teach them much about what it means to be an American leader.