(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.


Not much to tell.

Add to Technorati Favorites

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Future Leaders of America, Beware!

Read this short link and see what I mean.

Sprint football is a phenomenon unique to Army, Navy, Penn, Princeton and Cornell, with VMI now getting into the act. Basically, it's for kids who weigh under 170 pounds. The problem for Princeton is that you get kids who always wanted to play football, and some of them never have. In contrast, Navy has a physical training requirement, which means that you can get about 75 Middies who are in great shape and who have a serious clue as to what they're doing.

Which means that on the Princeton side of things, there's a kind of ultimate frisbee attitude going on. Hey, let's show up, play some football, give it the good old college try, and see what happens. In contrast, the Middies play Sprint the way USC plays Notre Dame -- they go for the throat. Which would explain the result that I linked to.

Navy 98 Princeton 0.

According to my sources, Navy's attitude on the Sprint side of things has been a little punk-like. They were up 21-0 after 3 minutes and 49-0 at the end of the first quarter. Army, in contrast to their archrivals, did shellack Princeton, 45-0, but they called off the dogs rather early and let the deep bench players mop up. Navy did not. (Then again, having read John Feinstein's book, "A Civil War" about the Army-Navy game, you have to recall that when addressing service academy rivalries, both the Black Knights of the Hudson and the Middies agreed that the Air Force Academy cadets were punks. I suppose it's all relative.)

I'm not sure that this means a whole hill of beans except that Navy likes to dominate and Princeton should consider whether to re-tool the program or take the money that they spend on Sprint and spend it on some form of international math competition. (Believe it or not for those who read this blog, but the Ivies sponsor far more varsity sports than major conference schools -- link on, say, Nebraska, and then link on Princeton, and see what I'm talking about). Because it doesn't appear that the Tigers are spending their money wisely on Sprint, at least right now.

I also would caution Navy about teaching its kids to win graciously. 98-0 is a bit much for anyone to take, and there will be long memories. Princeton's Sprint team has a hefty endowment, and do enough to tick off the Tiger Athletic Department, they'll spend it better and figure out a way to kick your butt in your own house, even if it takes 20 years to do so. But the Navy coaches should take a page out of the book of Princeton's lacrosse coach, Bill Tierney. During the days that the Tigers dominated the national lacrosse landscape (and, in the past four years, while they've been on it, they haven't dominated), Tierney's teams frequently powdered their opponents. Yet, when you go back and look at the line scores, you'll see lots of them where the Tigers won 19-2, 19-3, 19-6, but they never scored over 20 goals. Why? Because even the fiery Tierney believes in letting the other team getting away with its dignity, no matter how outclassed they are.

I would submit that in the instance of the Navy-Princeton game, the only classy aspect of the host victors were their stunning uniforms. Because once the score got past the sixties, it was time to call off the dogs.

Even if it meant running the ball up the gut on every single play. For three quarters.

As for Princeton, the Tigers should seriously re-think their approach to Sprint Football. After all, I'm sure some Navy partisans will contend that the Tigers were so bad that Navy couldn't help but to score 98 points. Even discounting some partisan zealotry, the Tiger administration has to take some stock and figure out what to do next.

And encourage any Tiger team that plays Navy in the future to ratchet up their competitive juices just a notch.


Anonymous Chris Scheidler said...

As a Navy grad, I always hope for a Navy victory, but I also hope we display some class. So, I was disappointed to read your post until I followed your link and read the box score. Navy passed only 16 times while rushing 59 times. Also, if you read the drive summaries, we only passed a couple of times in the second half, and those were from the backup quarterback. Now, I don't condone passing when leading by so much, but he was only 1-3 for 8 yds. Also, 11 players had rushes for Navy, and it does not look like any of the players who carried in the 1st half had rushes after halftime. So, I think, in balance, that Navy's sportsmanship is not really called into question.

1:47 PM  
Anonymous Chris Scheidler said...

And, now, having completely lost all perspective on the vitally important issue of Navy sportmanship, I give you the official write up of the game.

Suffice to say, Navy did call off the dogs.

2:11 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home