Well who knew the Army Navy game was such an event! I guess lots of people knew – just not me! I will admit Steve and I were a bit different in our anticipation of the weekend. He has been planning for it for months – ever since Seamus accepted his appointment to the Academy actually. I, on the other hand, had been a bit anxious about it because the thought of standing out in the cold for 12 hours was a bit much. In the end – it was a really fun day and I am looking forward to 3 more years of this tradition 🙂
We set out Thursday night to stay at our friend’s, Ken and Lisa in NJ. We pulled up to a big Christmas display courtesy of Ken and their daughter Brianna, who is Christmas crazy 🙂
This photo does not do justice to the plethora of lights displayed
On Friday, Steve and our 2 friends from Canada went into Philly to tour around and see some of the pre game festivities. Yes – apparently it is such an iconic event that even two Canadians, with no attachment to the Army or the Navy, drove 8 hours to see the game. I opted to stay back as 2 days outside in the cold did not sound like a good idea for me. I took my time running errands, making some food for the tailgate and getting some work done. It was a leisurely day which seems so rare. Before dinner, I took a walk around the neighborhood to enjoy the vast displays of Christmas decorations. I could do that for hours and am a bit deprived where we live since there are not many houses and most do not do much for decorating.
Wegman’s haul for tailgate (and chips to send back to school with Casey as well)
Seamus is in 13th Company which is the ‘ball running’ company. This means they go in groups which each have a leg of the run from Annapolis to Lincoln Financial Stadium in Philadelphia, where the game is held. Being a plebe, Seamus assured us his leg would be in the middle of the night in some podunk town in PA. Well he sent us the route on Thursday night and low and behold – he was running 1 mile from Steve’s parents house. What in the world?!!! We could not believe it! We comtemplated heading down there for the night so we could go out and see him but with having so much to pack up bright and early (actually, dark and early!) the next morning, it did not seem feasible. But Granddad (who wins granddad of the year award!) braved the cold and met up with the crew at 1:45am at the end of their leg.
Seamus is so happy to see his Granddad <3
13th Company 12am-2am running group
We arrived at 8am and started the tailgate with lots of food – eggs, bacon, sausage, bagels, coffee cake, fruit, coffee, cocoa and some very popular Bloody Marys.
Steve did an amazing job with limited kitchen conveniences
Casey (mid-bite) and Ken….do you think he is warm enough?
Steve with the Canadian contingent – Stewie and Mike or ‘Postie’
Our friend Jeff brought his 85 year old father who was in the army – it was on his bucket list to go to the Army Navy game. He was so great and seemed to have a ball!
We were kind even though they wore the wrong hats 😉
By chance, Seamus and his company were parked right near us so we were able to go chat with them a bit and bring them a little grub.
Happy runners with breakfast sandwiches…they each ran 11 miles but Josh (middle) chose to do 2 legs and ran 20 miles!
We were psyched Casey could make it (we were not sure if he would have exams right after but he had several days between the game and first exam). My brother was supposed to bring him but had a conflict which we found out about just a few weeks before the game. Fortunately a good friend of Casey’s, ‘Squishy’, was psyched to have the opportunity to see the game that has always been on his bucket list too (these bucket lists, I tell ya!). He drove Casey down and was such a fun and easy addition to the group.
We headed in the the game in time for the March On by the Midshipman…I bundled up a bit more…multiple layers including 2 heavy down coats, heated mittens with addition hand warmers in them, foot warmers and a down skirt. My very hot travel mug was confiscated (despite being empty) by security – it was actually run by the secret service because the President was in attendance. I was beyond thrilled to see that they sold phenomenal hot mugs at the gift shop! Whoo hoo – hot tea to keep me warm. And it was a USNA mug so fun to purchase regardless 🙂
Fashion statement 😉
The pregame festivities were the best part in my mind….both Army and Navy had paratroopers come down into the stadium, Army had helicopters fly over and Navy had fighter jets fly over.
It was a beautiful day for December – sunny, low wind, and 36 or so.
Seamus was not sure we would get to see him because the Mids were told that they could only leave their seats to go to the bathroom twice. At halftime though, he texted Casey who went down to Seamus’s seat and ended up staying for the rest of the game. Steve, Squishy and I joined him towards the end. It was such great energy being right next to the whole brigade when Navy scored a touchdown.
The most powerful part of this game is that these teams are such rivals…yet in the end they are both on the same team. Both attract the same kind of player – men who are smart, athletic and dedicated to serving their country above themselves. And we know that all of the families there are in the same boat – they just joined a different military family depending on where their child ended up in school.
And knowing that they are all on team USA feeds the love no matter who wins the game.