Deep in the heart of SEC country, college football rivalries are a fact of life. But chances are the players on your favorite team are not taking off one uniform to dress in their military dress. And most of your favorite team’s players will not be spending their careers putting their lives in danger for the sake of serving their country.
That’s what makes the annual Army-Navy game different.
“Words really don’t — I don’t even think — would do it justice,” said Lt. Col. Brandan Rooney with the 4th Battlefield Coordination Detachment at Shaw Air Force Base. Rooney graduated from West Point and played halfback and kick returner for the Black Knights from 1996-1999. He returned for the 2000 season as a graduate assistant coach.
“To be part of it — it’s just a great atmosphere, a great game, and it’s something you look forward to all year,” he said. “Everywhere at the academy it’s ‘Go Army! Beat Navy!’ So that’s what you look forward to all season and all off-season and throughout the year. . . All year you’re waiting to play Navy.”
Despite that motivation to win, nothing is tighter than the military connection.
“I always root for Navy when they’re not playing Army and between us, neither of the services root for Air Force to win,” Rooney said with a chuckle. “You root for the other guy because really, at the Navy, you know they’re going through pretty much the same kind of stuff you’re going through as a player and as an athlete and, of course as a student.” [Read more…]