This past weekend the entire country had its eyes on a snow covered Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. Where two football teams played a football game for the 118th time. The game was incredible from start to finish and came down to a last second field goal that veered just to the left and the team wearing all white won the game 14-13. However, what we experienced is much bigger than a game. Every year this 118-year-old rivalry is renewed. The thrills and the excitement of the game take a back seat. This is Army Navy. Two schools full of young men and women who decided to dedicate their life to protecting this country.
My entire life it has been a tradition in the Mitchell household to gather around the TV and watch this incredible game. I thought I was able to grasp some of what this meant, but these last 6 months have completely changed how I view and respect these incredible people.
Just about a year ago, my brother signed that dotted line to head off to the Naval Academy Prep School in preparation for enrollment into the Naval Academy a year later. Since he left I have been blown away by the workload he has taken on both academically and physically. From 4 weeks without a cellphone, 4:30am wake ups, and PT tests my brother has been working harder than he ever has in his life. I always knew he was cut out for this and that he would be a part of something bigger than himself. This young man has always taken on extraordinary tasks, and always finds a way to get it done. However, my brothers story is just one of over 12,000 different kids each and every year that are handpicked to attend one of the 3 major service academies (Army, Navy, Air Force) .
These kids do not have the opportunity to do the things normal college students do. They surrender the happy hours, sleeping in late, and the reckless Friday and Saturday nights. Some of the things lots of kids look forward to as they head off to college. They surrender all of that in order to be a part of something bigger than themselves. They will have a “college experience” none of us could even fathom. Once graduation rolls around there is no gap year, no easing into some corporate job, or internships. After they graduate, they serve 8 years mandatory service.
So, once a year these two teams meet and play 4 quarters of football. The game is always competitive and the pageantry is second to none. It’s not just a regular game between two faceless opponents. It is a game where every man that plays is willing to die for everyone watching. As many political and social issues we have going on in this country, this is one of those special moments. One of those moments, that make this country so special. Where you can sit back and be proud to be a part of this country.
Now that my brother is getting ready to head off to Annapolis and be part of the greatest rivalry in sports, I looked at this with a different perspective. I could not be more proud of my brother and ALL the men and women who decide to put their life on the line for this country. Thank you and God Bless you.
Lastly, I wanted to share this. This was the intro of the broadcast aired by CBS. Hats off to them I thought this was incredibly well done.