Part of the holiday tradition at our home is the Army-Navy game, Stewart being an alumni of West Point and a 26-year Army veteran. One might think with my 8 years in the Navy there might be a rivalry amongst us, but I didn't graduate from the Naval Academy and I don't understand or appreciate people's obsession with sports in general. That, and the game has turned into an annual day of tragedy in an otherwise enjoyable December, with the Navy on an utterly humiliating 13-year winning streak.
It's made all the worse because the USMA makes such an enormous deal out of the matchup. It is their ultimate prize of the season, more than bowl championships or overall win-loss records, or winning against the Air Force. It is the most emotionally invested they and their alumni get all year, their battle cries heard all over social media and the news. The football coach's reputation pivots on his success or failure in this single game, and the unending string of losses has resulted in a cacophoinc call to arms, to identify the team's weaknesses and to right the ship. Or tank, whatever.
The USNA takes a slightly more casual stance, but perhaps their own battle cries have become more muted over the years, as with each successive victory over Army they become a little more embarrassed for their rivals, a little less eager to claim victory over their compatriots.
For both of their sakes, let's hope the Army can pull off a victory this year.
Post Game Update: good grief.