Navy’s streak of eight consecutive bowls is over. But with Thanksgiving on the horizon, it’s time to give thanks for the streak that was and look for positives amid its end.
1. Army-Navy has its own day
I wasn’t always a fan of the decision to move Army-Navy back one week. I worried about being one week colder in the stands; about Navy having one week less prep time/healing time for the bowl game; and about my brother, whose wedding anniversary is the once-safe Dec. 12.
The move sure looks smart this year. Even with the recent, and welcome, surge in patriotism in our country, I’m not liking the chances that Army-Navy would get the attention it deserves if it were on the same day as the SEC championship, the Big Ten championship, the ACC championship and, this year at least, a couple pretty compelling Big 12 games (Texas-Baylor and Oklahoma-Oklahoma State).
2. Navy has basketball teams
There is much new energy around the Navy men’s and women’s basketball teams this season. The Navy men’s team appears back to the defense-and-rebounding-first approach that made Patriot League games fun to watch (and somewhat winnable) under Don DeVoe. The women’s team is coming off an historic season with an NCAA tournament berth.
I lost Navy men’s and women’s basketball on my radar in recent years. It was still football season into late December with the bowl, then bowl recovery/analysis/handwringng/celebratory hangover. So by the time I turned attention to hoops, Navy usually had a sub-.500 record from nonconference games and lacrosse was dipping its toes into the frigid outdoors for preseason workouts.
It’s time to be reintroduced to Navy basketball and the excellent Pete Medhurst on the radio play-by-play.
3. The streak that was
How great was that eight-year bowl streak? The long drive against New Mexico. Slotback Frank Divis’s passes against New Mexico. Reggie Campbell’s touchdowns against Colorado State. The Navy defense going head-to-head against Matt Ryan of Boston College. The Navy offense going head-to-head against BJ Raji of Boston College. The successful onside kick in the final minute against Utah. For a D.C. native like myself, even the bowl game at RFK Stadium was enormous fun. The crushing win over Missouri.
And I still haven’t forgiven Mike Leach for the cheap touchdown celebration Texas Tech did in the fourth quarter of the 2003 bowl game. (What ever happened to Leach? Oh, wait a minute…)
So the bowl streak is over. And the CIC trophy streak. Neither was going to last forever! One streak that will resume next year is the streak of our enjoyment of Navy football continues. Maybe this dip will make all of us a little more hungry, a little more focused.
“Let us learn to appreciate there will be times when the trees will be bare,” Anton Chekov wrote, “and look forward to the time when we may pick the fruit.”