Thursday, December 17, 2015
The Human Spirit is driven to compete. Sure, there are different levels in all of us. Yes, our competitive nature may thrive in different fields and walks of life. But inside each and every one of us there is a desire to excel. It is in our basic DNA.
I have always loved sport. A game, no matter what it is, can hold my attention. I identify with the men and women pushing themselves to win. Anyone who tells you, “It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.” probably never got there. Yes, the journey is rewarding, but we play to win…or at least I believe we should.
Recently I attended my first ever Army Navy Game in Philadelphia. I’ve watched the Midshipmen and Cadets play as long as I can remember, but hadn’t had the chance to see them duke it out live. My youngest brother is an Annapolis graduate, a pilot and Lieutenant Commander in the Navy. I got to sit and watch with him, and see how much being a Navy man means to him and the thousands of others who’ve served our Nation. Both schools are filled to the brim with the best of the best. They believe in something bigger than themselves. While college kids at other universities worry about selfies, Cadets and Mids worry about a life being selfless. It truly is inspiring.
As a Sports fan I hold the Army Navy Game above all others. Yes, that includes the Game 7 of the World Series, the Super Bowl or Final 4. Why? Because there are rarely any Pro careers waiting for these players. They will not receive any multi million-dollar endorsements. Fame and fortune are not in this equation. These athletes play for the LOVE OF THE GAME. They play for tradition. They play for each other. They play with all their heart because they KNOW the game means more than any agent could get them.
In a culture of “Me First” athletes and professionals being paid millions to act like thugs and prima donnas, it is important to watch Army Navy. If only to see what it means to compete from the basic make up of the human spirit.
I watch Yankee Baseball hoping to see that spirit in my favorite Bronx Bombers. And lucky for me, many of them were built like the extraordinary men and women at the United States Naval Academy and the United States Military Academy at West Point. I only wish more athletes saw what it means to play the game the right way.
Take a DeSean Jackson for example…yep, that’s what’s wrong with Pro Sports. The Redskins could go 0-16, but as long as Jackson gets his numbers and big contract…well, all is right with the world.
I don’t mean to be preachy. I don’t. This is just something my Dad taught me and it’s served me well in all walks of life. Be respectful. Play the game hard and respect your opponent. No matter if you start, come off the bench or barely suit, keep your head in it. Be a part of something bigger than yourself. Use your talent to help achieve the overall goal. Don’t let anyone out work you. Army Navy epitomizes that.
The Yankees teams of the last dynasty had the make up of the best Cadet and Midshipmen teams. They played every game as if there was no tomorrow…that’s why they’ll be remembered. It isn’t the rings…it’s the heart. It’s the love and respect for their teammates, the Yankee history and the game itself.
The greatest thing about the Army Navy Game is that nobody leaves that field defeated. Sure, one team gets the W, but they all play the game with all they have in their souls…how can you lose. Really?
Thank you to the men and women serving in our military. You play the game of life the right way.
OH! ON A SIDE NOTE. It’s the Holiday Season. Feel like you put on a few extra pounds? Wanna shed a few? Maybe you have too many twitter followers weighing you down. Well, just tweet something; ANYTHING Pro US Military and hipsters from Williamsburg to Silver Lake will unfollow you like mad! You’re better off.
** Here’s one for my brother and grandfather. Go NAVY! Beat Army! **
--Mike O'Hara Senior "Features" Writer
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