As you read the first part, just getting to Philly was an adventure in and of itself, being that we chose to drive. The first day on the scene, we decided to attend the Patriot Games. I had never heard of these, but my wife found out what they were, and to be honest, it was quite a neat ordeal. The first visit, was early Friday morning when we went to the Rocky Statue located at the Philadelphia Museum of Art where the Cadets and Midshipmen were engaged in a battle of endurance, and strength. The two teams has to have four members each perform a set amount of push-ups and then jump rope for a required length of time one-by-one until the four had the task completed. Once they completed these endurance battles they had to haul a stretcher loaded down with a life-size dummy up the famous "Rocky Steps" to the top. Once to the top the next four members had to go and repeat the performance. Army was in charge the entire time, but fell short when they lost their dummy going up the steps and Navy was able to overcome them for the photo finish.
|Yo Navy...eh...Yo Army...eh...Yo?!|
From there, we learned first hand about hailing a cab in Philly (lol). We traveled across town to the visitors center where another contest lay before the Cadets and Midshipmen. They had to traverse across a lawn (approximately 100 feet) on cinder blocks that they were to build a bridge out of only two 2x8 planks. This was to simulate the soldiers building a bridge across a river to get their cargo, a hard drive, across the river safely to the other side. If a member of the team "fell into the river", they had to then run around another lawn and start back at the beginning. To watch the service men and women work together the way they did was very awesome. I've even thought about incorporating some of this into our spring practices. I think it would be a great way to build team chemistry.
We missed the third event which I believe was a tug of war on a battleship stationed there at Philly (no public was allowed), but we made it to the fourth event which was the pull up competition and pep rally. Man, I must say I had goose bumps from just the fight songs being played by the bands! The Army came away with the victory in pull ups having completed more than 250 in a five minute period. Needless to say I was impressed. The bands (which I rarely salute a band) were VERY impressive and it was deafening inside the confines of The Shops at Liberty Place. You talk about crowded, we got there some 30 minutes early and it was standing room only, and we were all elbow to elbow. Nevertheless it was very much worthwhile getting to see this part of the competition.
Once that was completed we got something to eat, yes of course a famous Philly cheese steak! It was delicious! We then made our way back to our room to rest for an evening out on the town. When we left our room to go out we were walking north up Broad Street when we heard sirens and horns blaring and all of a sudden we saw some Army Cadet runners coming down the street with police escorts and bikers leading the way. We later found out this was the game ball being delivered from West Point by runners! They had escorts along the way and had run the entire way! Navy had also done the same thing coming from Annapolis. That was pretty cool to get to watch them bring the game ball in like that.
We ended our night by enjoying a meal right in our own hotel, as well as a few drinks. We were surrounded by tons of Army folks. I wore an Army shirt, but had a Navy hat on. Needless to say I got numerous high fives followed up with a "what the hell?". We got to explain ourselves and even ran into a couple who were going to the game for the first time since their son had been at West Point and they were so intrigued by our story they took pictures of us! Sometimes it pays to be a bit different I guess. Anyhow, Part III will be about the game itself. Here are some more photos of the day prior to the game.