OPINION: Army, Navy rivalry brings country together

India Kirssin | Managing Editor

The streak is over.

This past Saturday, Army beat Navy 21-17, breaking a 14 game losing streak. The last time the Black Knights beat the Midshipmen was in 2001, when they played only three months after 9-11 in an emotional game that showcased many young men who would be headed to fight The War on Terror soon after.

I have never been a huge college football fan, but the Army-Navy rivalry has a special place in my heart. My grandfather is a West Point graduate and former professor. My father was in the Army and still has friends who are serving. We can all agree that “Go Army. Beat Navy.” is a motto to live by.

While both academies are bitter rivals, the overarching understanding of brotherhood and service to country between the two is incredible. Foes on the field, these men become allies after graduation as they commit themselves to a cause greater than football and themselves. It’s inspiring to watch, even for neutral viewers.

It’s also an important reminder of the courageous, bright young men and women of our country. Men and women willing to sacrifice everything for the freedom of others. It’s a game that is bigger than the outcome (even though it was high time Army got to sing their fight song second).

This game is about love of country and unity in times of struggle. It represents two sides with different ideologies but the same end goal: to protect our country. In many ways it mimics our presidential election, yet the comparisons put the election to shame.

Both are patriotic competitions, but one battle ends with respect while the other ends with the disappointment and bitterness of many. One is conducted with honor and tradition, while one has both sides stooping to an all time low. One is fought for pride, while the other is fought for personal gain and backhanded, below the table benefits. You guess which is which.

Army-Navy was a breath of fresh air after the hate and nastiness of the election and the fallout that still reverberates amongst many.

Many of us struggle to accept each other’s opinions and views, whether we admit it or not. Some of us think that Midshipmen bowl with bumpers, while others think Army makes stupid signs. Most of us should just be paying attention to the facts (2016… Warriors blew a 3-1 lead, Indians blew a 3-1 lead, Navy blew a 14 year lead).

We like to say we are more open-minded than ever, yet we still look down upon those we perceive as having an inferior perspective of the world. It’s important to voice our opinion and stand up for what we believe in, but it’s also important to respect others and make sure we are staying within the boundaries we have been given. These values have seemed misguided and a little lost as of late.

Army-Navy exemplifies how we should be treating others –  taking shots in College Gameday signs and creating commercials humorously bashing the other side are fine as long as respect and admiration prevail. West Point’s motto is “Duty, Honor, Country.” Country. We are all on the same team. Army-Navy was a wake up call to start acting like it.

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