Category Archives: Maryland Navy Football
Everyone in the state knew the Maryland-Navy game was going to be hard-fought and thrilling with a stadium full of vocal partisans. Yes, it was that — and more.
What I didn’t know is that another equally intense, nationally-ranked competition took place hours before, just outside M&T.
While strolling among the revelers many hours before the game, I encountered this fortress in Lot J. It consisted of a van, large trailer, several tents and matching golf cart. From at least a block away I could see Jay Bush and Duke the talking dog beaming from the side panels, and a team of color coordinated cuties running around with scorepads.
Yes, the Gurus of Grillin’ Beans were judging tailgates. I’m not sure what criteria they used to measure school spirit and culinary prowess, but they seemed to be having a wonderful time at this off-site, intrastate rivalry. Just as the teams were pulling out all the stops, so were the party heartiers.
Right next to the bastion of beans was yet another competition, involving busloads of students, a long table covered in cups filled with an unknown liquid, and ping pong balls. This spectator seemed to be one of the officials.
The Terp tribe also had some kind of frisbee fling and a spirited game of cornhole taking place at the same time. An interesting type of triathlon, but I didn’t see any grills set up, so I’m not sure if they qualified by Bush standards. (They were using generic beans in their bags, so that must have disqualified them.)
They certainly seemed to be having a good time, though.
On the other side of Camden Yards, a mega tailgate was taking place, involving 4,000 Midshipmen, a country western band, and real food (but no ping pong balls.) The entire Brigade, plus a few friends and family, enjoyed a barbeque buffet on Eutaw Street before mustering for the march to the stadium. Entertainment was provided by Montgomery Gentry and everyone seemed to have a good time.
(Too bad Babe couldn’t enjoy some of that pulled pork and cole slaw like the Mids clustered around him.)
It took some snooping, but I found this tiny picture of the Crab Bowl Classic trophy, soon to be awarded to the winner of the Maryland-Navy game at M&T on Labor Day.
As promised, the weather following a hurricane is glorious, and we can expect clear skies and cool temperatures at game time. True football weather (but I could have used a little rain in the garden, Earl.)
Terry says the game is nearing a sell-out as it is down to the last few thousand seats. With good weather, convenient access to both schools, avid alumni all over the region and the best football experience going, we are looking for a full house Monday.
(Would someone remind Bill the Goat not to nibble the turf this year? It’s brand new, and it doesn’t grow back)
Remember, this is an all day spectacle. The Brigade will be rolling in before noon for their pep rally/cookout on Eutaw Street. Tailgating will no doubt begin even before. And I understand from both Sports Legends and my favorite watering hole beyond center field that Maryland alumni groups have sewn up their party rooms pregame.
So if you’re a Marylander of any stripe, or if you just want to enjoy a good game in a great city, plan to spend Labor Day afternoon at M&T Bank Stadium.
To purchase online, visit TicketMaster or call TicketMaster Phone Charge at (800) 551-7328/(410) 547-7328.
I was cruising down 97 towards Annapolis for the Navy game when a carload of Blue Hens streaked past. What on earth, mused I, ever made University of Delaware select “Blue Hen” for a mascot? That even sounds silly at 70 mph.
Yes, Maryland has a team named after its state bird, but Baltimore Orioles has better ring and more stylish plumage than Delaware Blue Hens. South Carolina has a poultry mascot, but at least Gamecocks suggest a pugilist nature. Not only are hens a little fluttery, they are, well, GIRLS. Hard to visualize guys in shoulder pads clucking on a nest. Makes me cackle just to think of it.
I once read that Delaware’s mascot was the only one known to be exclusively female, but Mike Frenz pointed out that Williams College has the purple cow (“I’d rather see than be one”) as their spirit symbol. Of course, the cerebral and select Williams (whose athletes are referred to as “Ephs”) is the kind of school that could pull it off.
And whatever inspired Virginia Tech to choose “hokie,” the agricultural term for a neutered male turkey? ( Think: gobbler version of capon.) Most people don’t know what a hokie is, even when they see the wacky big bird stalking the sidelines.
There are various reasons offered for how the school made this particular choice (along with the orange/maroon colors,) but no matter how it evolved, Hokie seems to work, verbally and visually. It certainly did in College Park. The Terp fans all wore black, which didn’t auger well — especially with the team outfitted in camouflage. (If they were trying to hide from VT, it didn’t work.) The color contrast in the stands emphasized the flock of Techies in attendance, particularly in the fourth quarter when the hometown faithful fled and the turkeys were still trotting.
In Annapolis, the Mids prevailed, despite a scary first half. The Blue Hens are no chickens. Last time they flew in, Navy scored 52 points and STILL lost to a team led by a guy named Flacco. So no one in Annapolis snickers about the hens laying an egg. They’ve made omelettes out of opponents too often.
So Delaware and Virginia Tech are proof that schools can enjoy successful athletic programs and very loyal fans despite having peculiar mascots. I can’t help but wonder if the Fighting Artichokes of Scottsdale do as well.
AND SPEAKING OF MASCOTS . . . . there’s still time to vote for our two local favorites, Bill the Goat and Testudo the Terrapin, in the Capital One National Mascot Challenge. Bill and Testy have advanced to the quarter finals, and need your support. Go to: http://www.capitalonebowl.com/vote/main?utm_medium=display&utm_campaign=MascotDig09&utm_source=SportsFanLive&utm_content=M2&utm_term=RunofNCF
I attended two football openers last weekend. The home teams (Navy, Ravens) came through in both cases and the experience in the stadiums was every bit as exciting as you would expect from a partisan crowd.
But while engrossed in the games, I also had time to observe how spectator sports directly impact the local economy, and while providing a valuable tourism promotional vehicle.
(NOTE: I could not possibly do a scientific study of tourist spending by myself, so Ashley and her mom generously volunteered to observe the scene in several downtown establishments with me after the game.)
Economic impact studies can tell you a lot, based on formulas. Ticket sales provide zip codes, which translate into room nights and restaurant meals, with concessions and merchandise added on according to whatever multipliers are used.
But they don’t tell you about the neighborhood entrepreneurs who offer space in their driveways, or sell bottled water on the sidewalks leading to the park. They don’t factor in the PTAs who operate parking lots at the nearby elementary school to pay for playground equipment and supplies, or the Rotary Club volunteers who direct stadium traffic as a fund raiser for their community grant programs.
You might call it the underground economy; in Annapolis it’s as much a tradition as the Herndon Climb.
It’s hard to calculate how many delis and rolling barbeque pits get the call for tailgates, since the numbers change every week. But the restaurants downtown can tell you how many extra staff they schedule, starting Friday night, when Navy plays at home. The corridor between the City Dock and the stadium is pretty much a moveable feast and shopping excursion.
In that shoulder season between the end of summer and the beginning of holiday parties, Navy home games rule the hospitality industry.
I’ve referenced the beauty of the stadium and its setting many times. This is echoed by anyone who has attended an event there in the past few years. Now consider what that means when most of those games are broadcast.
Whether the network is small or large, it still reaches far beyond the attendance of any given game. What they see is produced by a high def camera crew. So instead of having the beauty of Annapolis and pageantry of the Naval Academy seen only by those holding tickets, it is now available to every set with a sports TV package.
(It may even appear on those phones my kids have. I haven’t figured that Ap out yet.)
The telecasts show the cool stuff, like the F-18s thundering overhead, and the view of the Severn and the Bay, visible from the camera deck.
In short, broadcast along with a Navy game is a free commercial for visiting beautiful, historic Annapolis. It’s the kind of exposure that’s hard to match and a price that’s pretty unbeatable. While Annapolis hosts many other large events (the annual boat shows come to mind) they aren’t the kind of thing that garner national attention.
That’s the beauty of sports events — they are watched all over the world, and they do include information about their location as part of the broadcast.