Navy’s trips to the White House in celebration of its gridiron success are becoming such a yearly tradition that we wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if the Midshipmen had their own monogrammed towels in one of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue’s myriad bathrooms.
Friday afternoon, Navy players and coaches were honored yet again by President Barack Obama at the White House for claiming the 2013 edition of the Commander-In-Chief trophy. It’s the ninth time in the past 11 years the Midshipmen have staked its claim to the prestigious trophy.
Navy defeated both Air Force (28-10, after it looked like the game wouldn’t be played) and bitter rival (sometimes) Army (34-7) to earn its 14th CIC honor since the trophy was first handed out in 1972. Despite the recent run of football success, the Midshipmen still trail the Falcons’ 18 trophies. The Black Knights, the inaugural winner of the award, are well behind both service academies with six, with the last coming in 1996.
The trophy has been shared on four different occasions: 1974, 1976, 1980 and 1986.
“When you sign up to play at Annapolis, you know you’re in for a different experience,” the President said. “So, yes, it’s about learning to be a good football player, but more importantly, it’s about learning how to be a good leader and to be a good man. And that’s what these outstanding Americans are and will continue to be.”
The President also acknowledged the tragedy with which the program has been forced to deal. Last month, running back Will McKamey passed away after falling unconscious and into a coma during a spring practice session.
“I understand your motto for this season is ‘I Will’ in memory of him. And that’s what camaraderie is all about: Honor. Courage. Commitment. That’s what makes the Midshipmen so strong,” the POTUS said. “And that’s why I’m so proud to serve as your commander-in-chief. Not primarily because of what you’ve done on the football field, but because of your dedication to each other and your service to America.”