Army and Navy ROTC programs face off in annual flag football game



Meaghan Fabian

On the evening of Nov. 20, the University’s Navy ROTC Midshipmen and Widener’s Army ROTC Dauntless Battalion Cadet faced off in a hard-fought game of flag football. Both sides traditionally field one male team and one female team. This year was no different. Both programs gathered on Mendel Field, right outside Navy ROTC’s John Barry Hall, determined to rise to victory.

In recent years, both the male and female teams of Army ROTC boasted an undefeated record, four and six years, respectively. During the pregame warm-up, Army ROTC’s sideline displayed two glimmering trophies, signs of their impressive records. However, the trophies are not the biggest prizes. The biggest prizes are the bragging rights that each victorious team earns until the following year’s game.

With such high stakes in mind, the male teams from both programs took the field first. At halftime, Army led, 3-2. The real excitement didn’t start, though, until about halfway through the second half, when two players, one Cadet and one Marine Option, exchanged a few taunts, which escalated into many shoves. Upon seeing this interaction, both teams joined in. Only after the designated referees expelled the two instigators from the game did the playing recommence.

Ultimately, Army ROTC won, 5-3. Both teams lined up, as good sportsmen do, and congratulated each other on the good, albeit aggressive, game. The male trophy remained on the Army ROTC’s sideline. It now resides at Widener University, in the Army ROTC Cadet Lounge.

As the sun set on Villanova’s campus, the female teams took the field. Though slightly smaller on both sides, the female teams did not lack the fierce competitiveness for the game ahead. By the time both teams were huddling up for halftime, the scoreboard read 3-1, Navy.

Halfway through the second half, the sun completely set, leaving the teams to play in relatively dim lighting. One Cadet, thinking as a future Army Officer should, utilized all available resources by shining his pickup truck’s head beams onto Mendel Field to illuminate the game. Unfortunately, these head beams only lit half the field. It was undeniably entertaining watching the female participants blindly stumble around for the football.

The final score: 5-2, Navy. For the first time in six years, the female trophy was presented to the female Navy ROTC Midshipmen, after a well-earned victory. The trophy now resides in the John Barry Wardroom, awaiting its fate of the next Army Navy flag football game.

Normally, both programs would have to wait until the same time the following year to scratch that competitive itch to destroy the opposing program. However, this year starts a new tradition. On Dec. 4, both Army and Navy ROTC programs will compete at UPenn in a tournament-style flag football competition, where they will match up against more schools’ ROTC programs in the Philadelphia area.