An Open Letter to the Army Football Team

Dear Black Knights,

I'm going to need to you SNAP OUT OF IT! Seriously now.

I am your biggest fan. The true 12th man. Season, after season, after season, I have managed to figure out a way to support the team. I have bought my KnightVision & CBS XXL subscription so I didn't miss a game. I have figured out how to connect my computer to the tv so friends & family can watch along too. I have begged, borrowed and *stole* my way into tickets to events. When you come to play in the DMV, I pay the A-team Club membership that allows a grad to purchase 12 tickets, buy them all and bring a posse to root for Army. I have gear. I have jerseys. MY ENTIRE FAMILY has gear. It is unacceptable to root for Army w/o gear. I tweet & FB the game.

I AM THE 12th MAN.

This year you have shown an improvement that puts the sparkle back in the 12th Man's eye. However, you have been consistently inconsistent in your gamesmanship. SNAP OUT OF IT. It appears that when you start out strong, there is no stopping The Black Knights. And you did it enough to get you in bowl contention. Congratulations. (I have my tickets on pre-order) The Black Knights ARE the pride and dream of every heart in grey...and then some! However, when you run into some opposition, when you get behind, when you make an error or two - you crumble. FALL APART. LOSE HEART. It is obvious. You can see it in the way you play when things are down. NO HEART. NO PASSION.

Last night, I had a bunch of people over to watch you beat Notre Dame. Most of them were not even grads or even in the Army. Even the Navy peeps that came were ROOTING FOR THE BLACK KNIGHTS...and you folded. It broke my heart to hear "civilians" comment how it looked like the Black Knights just gave up. THAT IS UNACCEPTABLE!

If we are to break the 10 year losing streak to Navy, then WE - the Long Grey Line, the Army, the fans - NEED you to SNAP OUT OF IT and BRING THE PASSION. BRING IT...even when it looks bleak. We can get behind that. A loss, when you played like there would never be football again, is acceptable. Letting yourself get trounced by equally matched or lesser team is UNACCEPTABLE.

Now don't pin this on the coach. He can only do so much. He brought back the Triple Option and you have been executing it superbly - most times. However, the TEAM - THE BLACK KNIGHTS need to bring the rest - bring the thunder. Stop sulking and man up. As an old grad, you know I've got to say - "The Corps Has..." See, when men were men, women were women & Dinosaurs roamed the Plain - we had to KNOW & INTERNALIZE our plebe knowledge. I don't know what ya'll are doing up there now with all that real world business, but perhaps a little bit of the "Fourth Class System" needs to brought back and you just might get it.

There is one piece of knowledge that I if you really knew it, memorized it and INTERNALIZED it might just give you the strength to fight on:

Excerpt from "DUTY, HONOR, COUNTRY" - a message delivered to the Corps of Cadets on 12 May 1962 by General Douglas MacArthur

"Duty-Honor-Country. Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be. They are your rallying points:to build courage when courage seems to fail: to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith; to create hope when hope becomes forlorn."

Read it. Memorize it. INTERNALIZE it. DUTY-HONOR-COUNTRY - they are your rallying points. Use it. When the ball gets intercepted, when you get scored upon twice in a row - RALLY. Regain Faith. Create Hope. AND PLAY SOME DAMN BALL!

For..."Upon the fields of friendly strife are sown the seeds than upon other fields; on other days, will bear the fruits of victory - "

Play with the same passion as you would fight on any battle field and in the end we will be victorious.