Army-Navy game has re­demp­tion on the line

The Capital - - OPINION -

The nice thing about the ArmyNavy game to­day is that af­ter a pretty dis­mal sea­son, the Mid­ship­men have a chance at hav­ing all their foot­ball short­com­ings for­given. All they have to do is beat Army in the 119th matchup be­tween the two ser­vice acad­e­mies.

All they have to do is win, and they achieve re­demp­tion.

It may not be easy. Army has beaten Navy two years in a row and is a touch­down fa­vorite at Lin­coln Fi­nan­cial Field in Philadel­phia. Kick­off is sched­uled for 3:10 p.m.

Army runs onto the field to­day with a 9-2 record. Navy is at a dis­ap­point­ing 3-9, its worst record since 2002.

That’s the great thing about this game though a lot of that won’t mat­ter.

Both teams will come out and fight for all their worth. What, af­ter all, is more com­pelling than the na­tion’s pre­mier col­le­giate sport­ing ri­valry, ex­tend­ing far back into the misty for­ma­tive years of col­lege foot­ball in the 1800s?

Since 1890, this game has evolved from just an­other sport­ing ri­valry to a beloved na­tional rit­ual. It has been the venue for many in­no­va­tions, from the first use of a foot­ball hel­met (1893) to the pre­miere of “An­chors Aweigh” (1906) to the de­but of in­stant re­play (1963).

More im­por­tant, as John Fe­in­stein put it in the ti­tle of his 1996 book, it re­mains “col­lege foot­ball’s purest ri­valry” — played for the pride and honor of two great schools, by young men who, with ex­tremely rare ex­cep­tions, are look­ing ahead to ser­vice to their coun­try, not ca­reers in the NFL.

This year, oddly enough, it will be the site of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s an­nounce­ment of the new chair­man of the joint chiefs of staff — the na­tion’s high­est mil­i­tary com­man­der.

We al­ways say it be­cause it’s al­ways true: This is one drama in which the good guys al­ways win whether it is Army or Navy. And, as al­ways, no one should be in any doubt about our fa­vorite good guys:

Go Navy, beat Army!

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