Yesterday was the annual Army-Navy football game. Army beat Navy, snapping a long (14 years) winless streak.
The score was 21-17. My soon-to-be Army-officer daughter had a, well, understated reaction: “Yay us!”
The Army coach came onto the field and said, “I’m so proud of this team, of these kids.”
In a few short months, some of those “kids” will be leaving these shores to interpose themselves between psychotic, explosive vest-wearing, gibbering baboons — some of them just kids themselves — and us.
Our “kids” will be doing their level best to see that the gibbering baboons don’t get to them first of all, and then to us. Our “kids” will be exposing themselves to extreme danger … in order that we should not have to. Some of our “kids” won’t see their 25th birthday, falling, in the most gruesome way possible, in pursuit of the goal of giving us easy sleep each night.
It seems silly to point out the great life-lessons that sports can teach us, when speaking of these “kids.” These young men have volunteered to risk their lives in order to keep us safe. They’ve already learned the lessons, and learned them really well. This game showed them having pure fun.
It was really good to see the strength and grace with which these extraordinary athletes muscled their way through the football game. It was gratifying to see them having exuberant fun. This proud daddy wished that they all, upon graduation, could see only a world in which peace had broken out all over, and that their futures would be full of only more such fun and frolic.
Someone once said, “People sleep peacefully in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.” Those “rough men” are the “kids” of whom the Army coach — along with, of course, the Navy coach — was so proud.
Soon enough, though, despite my wistful musings, those graceful, energetic “kids” will take onto their young shoulders the responsibility of ensuring that you and I sleep easy each night.
So, let’s all say: “Godspeed Army! Godspeed, Navy! Congratulations on some great achievements already in your youthful lives! As you leave your respective academies, go with our gratitude, our love and our prayers for your safe return to hearth and home!”