by Maggie Phillips, Guest Contributor
Army fandom is special.
You know how I know this? Because it’s induced me not once, but now twice, to essay something even remotely approaching sports writing.
Members of the Vilseck High School tennis team circa 2001 could be forgiven for forgetting I was even kind of on the team, if they knew I was on it at all. I was so bad and uncommitted that either I wasn’t paying enough attention to know when the meets were or they just weren’t telling me.
Members of the Heidelberg High School cross country team circa 2003 may remember me as the girl who got hopelessly lost during the first meet of the school year.
So yes, it is a bit rich that I’m weighing in on college football at all, but such is the power of the Army team over the imagination of its fans.
To coin a question, “What makes this year different than any other year?” Well, last year, the United States Military Academy at West Point ended its 14-year losing streak against the United States Naval Academy in the annual Army-Navy football game, held every December.
I’d now like to take you on a tour of Army fans’ feelings headed into this year’s game, using the only medium I really feel comfortable using to discuss sports, due to its lack of technical detail: the listicle.
A Year in the Life of an Army Fan
Bill Murray in October 2016 was you in December 2016, and this is just further proof that you could totally be best friends if you ever met.
Although Army-Navy gets you excited every year, this year it’s justified, and the anticipation is killing you!
But as Jessie Spano can tell you, excitement is a double-edged sword. Was last year just a one-off?
You don’t want to get cocky, except…
Basically, you’ve spent much of college football season low-key checking up on Navy and gloating.
But as anyone who is truly petty will tell you, schadenfreude is simply the armor worn by the emotionally fragile.
Obviously, you need to protect your heart, but by the power vested in me as someone who you should understand is emphatically not really a sports person, I give you full permission to get your hopes up really, really high.*
*Although I would also like to say my husband made a really smart decision to not get a “Beat Navy” flag for our house, because there are a bunch of Navy people in our neighborhood and that’s the kind of bold statement you really just don’t want to have to walk back.
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E. Margaret Phillips who goes by Maggie has worked for the Army in different capacities for over 3 years, for both U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command and for U.S. Army Public Health Command. She has been published in the United States Foreign Service Association’s Foreign Service Journal, and in the U.S. Army professional publication, Military Review. She is a mother of 3 and has been an Army spouse for 8 years.