Friendship proves Military-Navy sport goes deeper than rivalry


This was Dec. 2, 1995, at crumbling previous Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia. Military’s soccer group had simply defeated Navy, 14-13, and so they’d wanted to drive 99 ½ yards late within the fourth quarter to do it. On the closing gun, the Black Knights seniors realized they’d simply carried out the best factor an Military soccer class might do: undergo 4 years of the rivalry 4-0.

And people 4 video games had been determined by a complete — a complete — of six factors.

“The one factor you all the time hear about this sport earlier than you play it’s, it’s identical to enjoying yourselves,” Jim Cantelupe says. “Lots of guys decide one academy over the opposite, a whole lot of guys have related skill-sets, and a whole lot of guys have related views should you’re going to decide on to go to a service academy.”

Today Cantelupe splits his time between Chelsea and Chicago as one of many founders of Summit Path Advisors, which manages the cash of many athletes and entertainers. Twenty-three years in the past, he was the defensive captain for Military, and as he went by way of the luxurious rituals of postgame — singing one another’s alma maters, hugging teammates and opponents, basking in real glory — he knew he wanted to do one very last thing.

He wanted to seek out Andy Thompson.

They weren’t buddies; they’d solely recognized one another 12 days, since a media luncheon. Thompson was Navy’s defensive captain. And within the moments after the final faculty soccer sport Cantelupe ever performed, as he rejoiced on the 4-Zero he would carry into eternity … he discovered himself oddly aching for an opponent he barely knew.

As a result of that foe would all the time be 0-4.

Cantelupe couldn’t discover Thompson on the sector, so, nonetheless clad in his black and gold uniform, he approached the guard on the Navy locker-room door and requested: “Can I’m going in there?” The guard shrugged him in. The following particular person he noticed was a distraught priest, one of many Navy chaplains; for Military-Navy it’s private for all personnel.

“Father,” Cantelupe says, “I hoped to see Andy Thompson.”

The cleric pointed Cantelupe to Thompson’s locker, and when Thompson noticed Cantelupe he jumped to his toes and began to sob. Cantelupe hugged him again. “I do know,” he says. “I do know.” And Thompson says: “Rattling, I wished to kick your [butt] at present. Simply as soon as I wished to know what it felt prefer to beat you guys. Now I’ll by no means know.”

In that second, a bond was born. They started emailing one another recurrently. Cantelupe traveled to Annapolis the week after his personal commencement ceremony to be at Thompson’s.

“Think about his considering to try this in what ought to have been his happiest second as a school soccer participant,” Thompson says, the marvel sill evident in his voice. “That has to inform you precisely what this sport is about.”

It’s not unimaginable to imagine an Auburn participant and an Alabama participant can change into buddies later in life. Similar with an Ohio State Buckeye and a Michigan Wolverine. However this wasn’t only a friendship. On the subject of Military and Navy, it hardly ever is.

“We had been — we’re — brothers,” Cantelupe says. “It’s exhausting to elucidate it another manner. You spend your entire 12 months with everybody telling you the one factor that ought to matter in your life is thrashing one another — and you then learn how a lot you take care of these guys.”

Navy's Andy Thompson
Navy’s Andy ThompsonNavy athletic division

Thompson, who lives in Fort Value, Texas, now and works for a small manufacturing firm after retiring from the Marine Corps in 2015, did get an opportunity to style Military-Navy splendor when he was an assistant coach for 2 years throughout his navy profession, each Navy wins.

“And you understand what?” he requested. “I used to be most likely the one one within the locker room who was considering of Military’s seniors, as a result of they’d gone 0-4.”

He has gotten revenge on his previous pal lots by way of the years, as a result of each Military-Navy sport the 2 males be sure that to position a wager. Straight up, no factors. For lots of years that was an issue for Cantelupe — from 1999 till 2015, Navy received 14 straight occasions and 16 out of 17.

“It felt like 30 in a row,” Cantelupe says.

“Typical Jim,” Thompson says. “He nonetheless owes me about 20 steaks from these bets. I wager he didn’t inform you that half.”

Saturday, the previous buddies and older rivals shall be in contact, as they normally are. Cantelupe shall be at Lincoln Monetary Discipline, Thompson shall be watching from residence. They may have their annual wager, and they’re going to as soon as extra bask within the colour and pageantry as bowl-bound Military goes for a 3rd straight win over 3-9 Navy. You may assume it’s a cliché to say you’ll be able to throw out the information on this one, however that is the place it started.

“I convey shoppers to the sport and so they inform me it’s probably the most unbelievable sporting occasion they’ve ever attended,” Cantelupe says. “I want everybody might know what it’s like to really play in a single.”

“America wins,” Thompson says. “Yearly.”

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