Want to be inspired? Watch Army-Navy game this weekend

If you’re looking to be inspired this weekend, turn your attention to Philadelphia.

No, this has nothing to do with another movie involving fictional boxing hero Rocky Balboa. Instead, it’s a college football game. Perhaps the college football game.

On Saturday, for the 119th time, the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York will take on its rival from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. The annual Army-Navy game — set to begin at 3 p.m. (televised by CBS) at Lincoln Financial Field, the home of the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles — is unlike any other sporting event out there.

Not only will the Black Knights and Midshipmen clash for annual bragging rights, the entire student bodies of both schools will be there as well. The Corps of Cadets and Brigade of Midshipmen will march onto the field before taking their seats for the game. And how many college football games routinely draw the attendance of the U.S. president, as this rivalry so often does and will again this year?

The rivalry is intense, but is also one of great mutual respect. The teams will compete as hard as humanly possible against each other. But as soon as the clock has reached zero, the teams will take turns standing alongside each other while each school’s alma mater is played, with the winning team enjoying the privilege of “singing second.”

And throughout the game, you’ll see vignettes of soldiers, seamen and Marines (some Naval Academy graduates join the Marine Corps) cheering their side on to victory.

No matter which academy prevails in the football game, anyone who takes the time to tune in will see some of the finest young people this country has to offer in action.

Very few, if any of these players will ever play a down of professional football. This game isn’t about impressing scouts or trying to improve draft stock. It’s solely about trying to beat their fiercest, yet most-respected rival for nothing more than pride — not only for themselves, but for their academy and their branch of service as well.

It’s really hard not to be inspired by that.

So, if you’re looking for reassurance that we’ll be in good hands with the next generation of leaders, tune in Saturday.

No matter which side comes away with victory, the winner is always America.

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