Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Anchors Aweigh!

The college football season is almost over and this past Thanksgiving weekend was full of traditional rivalries. One component of athletics is record keeping which allows comparisons going back decades. The following, from November 5, 2007, is about a record schools hope they never hold.

It's over. The longest streak of futility for one college against another ended yesterday as NAVY'S football team defeated Notre Dame after forty-three consecutive losses. In a thrilling contest played out on a gorgeous Indiana Saturday afternoon, the Midshipmen prevailed over the Irish in triple overtime, 46-44. The last win for the Academy came on November 2, 1963 when Heisman Trophy recipient Roger Staubach led his team to a 35-14 triumph over the Golden Domers, also in South Bend. To their credit, the Notre Dame players and coaching staff joined the jubilant NAVY squad and the Midshipmen in the stands as they sang the traditional anthem, Navy Blue And Gold after the final play but it had to be a bitter pill to swallow. The universities have played for eighty-one consecutive years. The series record now stands at 70-10-1 in favor of Notre Dame but the winning streak now is in the hands of the Middies. I think two in a row will prove much tougher!Let's put the streak in context. John Kennedy was in the White House when NAVY was last the victor and it's likely that the parents of some players in Saturday's clash had not been born yet. Granted, this was the weakest Irish team in decades but this was Notre Dame and NAVY. The game was on the Notre Dame campus and the Irish outweighed the Midshipmen fifty pounds per man along the line. Logic would dictate that Notre Dame should, as they had done for the past forty-three years, come out on top. Fortunately, logic doesn't win games and underdogs still pull upsets. In the future, a number of Notre Dame players will be making a living in the National Football League while in the same time-frame, the NAVY athletes will be fulfilling their five year commitment to the service of their country. After watching Saturday, I feel the oceans are in good hands.

Sometimes, we succumb to the despair which accompanies failure upon seemingly inevitable failure. We can't quit. Life seems stacked against us at times but we have it good. I had my students read an article on Friday about the AIDS epidemic destroying Zambia and how one bicycle can drastically change the course of lives. I followed the article with a videotape about street children in Honduras. Some of my students were choked up and most felt less sorry for themselves after viewing the state of much of the world. We have the option of learning from failure.... or whining. The Lord will teach us and strengthen us if we allow him to work through our defeats. Moses spent forty years as an exile before coming back to Egypt to lead his often reluctant kinsmen to the Promised Land. The NAVY players weren't concerned about the last forty-three losses; their focus was on the one win that was possible yesterday for a brief shining moment. I raised my hands in exultation for the underdogs as the NAVY defense stopped Irish running back Travis Thomas just short of the goal line on the game's final play. Before the game, I could not tell you the name of one NAVY player but now I can. The Midshipmens' brilliant quarterback is none other than Kaipo-Noa Kaeakhu-Enhada. You can't lose with a name like that!

Applicable quote of the day:
"If I were going to pick a characteristic that is most critical for the Navy in leadership, it is accountability. You need to think through, as an officer, what you believe in, and you need to make sure, particularly with what you do, that your standards are both impeccable and irrefutable and never blurred."
Admiral Gary Roughead (United States' Chief Of Naval Operations)

God bless,
Luke 18:1

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