Monday, December 15, 2014


15 December 2014: Saturday, 12/13/14, was the annual Army-Navy football game, played this year in Baltimore MD at the Ravens' Stadium. I may have mentioned in a previous post that my son Josh had procured tickets to the game and I was privileged to attend with him. 
The game was wonderful, though Navy did give us a bit of tension in the first half and left the field tied when the Cadets missed a last minute field goal. But they came through and as they say, it's the score at the end that matters! So, it's thirteen in a row over Army for the Navy Mids, and well done lads! You are our future and I am proud to have worn the same uniform! 
Now a bit of trivia: While most know that the Army uses a mule as a mascot, the Navy uses a goat. The Army's mascot derives, of course, from the mule being a beast of burden and was used extensively to haul all the materiel used by the troops. Easy, right? OK, then how about the Navy using a goat
Goat meets Mule 1924 Army Navy Game

 Where did that come from??? I mean, really, goats? They are not what you might associate with ships, the sea, and sailors, are they. OK - as we used to say in the fleet, "here's the straight skinny!" (well, that's not exactly what we said, but this is a "G" rated blog!)

Pets historically have been welcome on Navy ships, cats, dogs, monkeys, parrots, etc. Goats and sheep served a practical purpose as well: they provided fresh dairy. They also eventually provided meat, leather, and fiber. But goats had one huge advantage over sheep: they will eat anything! Cows, of course, required large amounts of fodder, clearly a non-starter - at least in the later mechanized navy. Sailing ships on really long voyages did have an area called, appropriately, the "barnyard" where they kept chickens, sheep, and some cattle, but generally with the first battle, they were either killed or, being in the way, thrown overboard. And yes, it was a cruel deed, but necessary. So, back to sheep and goats. The early sailors discovered one traits which set the goats way above sheep: they can swim!

It is said they are more affable also, but that would be, I am sure,  a matter of opinion!

There are many "goat" stories - but the best one is how it came to be the mascot for the football team - and, for the record, I don't make this stuff up! 
Apparently, a couple of ensigns were taking the skin of their ship's mascot, a goat (natch!) to a taxidermist when they stopped by the Army Navy game being played that year in Baltimore. They discovered that Navy was losing at halftime. So, in desperation, one of the ensigns wrapped himself in the goatskin and ran around the field in an attempt to rally the midshipmen. Of course, the Navy won the game and the goat was determined to have been lucky! So a live goat came to the game the following year, and the rest is history. Oh, no! Don't thank me for illuminating you! I do it as a public service!

So there you have it, folks! And thanks to my son, Josh, for a great weekend!

                                            Fair Winds, 

                                                        old Salt




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