As the U.S. Naval Academy’s favorite goat, I am at every USNA football game, whether it’s here at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium or in another amazing arena like MetLife, battling the Black Knights of West Point. These games are epic, and it’s hard to fully explain the feeling until you’ve been there. The heady competition and cherished military tradition combine for an incredible game experience that’s turbocharged with meaning, history and pride.
The Navy Spirit Squad Lifts the Game Even Higher
One of the Naval Academy clubs that makes these games so special is the Navy Spirit Squad, an extracurricular activity (ECA) that is devoted to leading the Brigade of Midshipmen in USNA cheer, dance and mascot spirit across all varsity football games and all women’s and men’s varsity home basketball games.
They are more than a simple spirit club. Not only do these women and men midshipmen pump up school spirit at non-sporting events at the Naval Academy, but they are a testament to the USNA Physical Mission itself, demonstrating the Naval Academy’s commitment to physical excellence through every pyramid, toss and hyper-athletic feat they perform. Even though I am sure footed in the foothills, I cannot begin to do the balancing acts that they do with such ease.
No Train, No Gain
It’s exciting to watch this group of athletes, performers and leaders as they work toward their goal of becoming one of the most recognized spirit squads in the country. To that end, they put in a minimum of two hours per day training from August through May, in addition to their games and performances.
Beyond their game performances, you can find the squad(s) also playing an active role in a variety of different events throughout the year, like tailgates, pep rallies, community events and military events. They’re especially integral to many military obligations, including meals, formations, watch standing and spring drill, in addition to maintaining the regulations and traditions of the Naval Academy. Phew! However, that is not all. Members of the squad(s) pride themselves on being active contributors to the Naval Academy, playing critical roles in other Naval Academy clubs, from the service organization Midshipmen Action Group (MAG), to the Midshipmen Group Study Program (MGSP), to many other important USNA clubs. They also strive for excellent academic records and have amassed impressive CQPRs, which are the sum total of GPA, military performance and physical standards of readiness set out by the Naval Academy. Not surprisingly, many are also on the Superintendent’s and Commandant’s Lists.
Jumping to the Top
In addition to excelling as midshipmen, the Navy Spirit team also participates in one of the pinnacles of varsity sports—the annual football battle against West Point. Although we work as one with the U.S. Army in the military, on the playing field the rivalry doesn't get any fiercer. This is true no matter what the competition, as we fight it out for the coveted N*s that signify a win over Army in each varsity sport.
The Navy Spirit team has the privilege of getting the crowd and the players ready for the Army-Navy football games. They even got to cheer on Navy football for 14 consecutive wins against Army from 2002-2015. As one of the squad members notes, “The Army-Navy football game is the most electric college football environment I've ever seen! It’s an honor to be a part of such a special tradition.” This end-of-the-season game caps off an unforgettable week full of pranks, nocturnal spirit missions and thousands (and thousands) of pushups. This is where the Navy Spirit team really springs to life, energizing the pep rallies, helping with the Patriot Games, visiting the Pentagon, performing at the Army-Navy Gala and then riling up the crowd at the game itself. For the past few years Navy Spirit has also been honored to have the game featured on ESPN’s “College GameDay,” one of the biggest weekly college football game broadcasts out there.
Another Navy Spirit team member sums up the excitement at these games, "Being the daughter of an USNA alumni, I had been to upwards of fifteen Army versus Navy games before even attending the Naval Academy. Despite this nothing could have prepared me for the absolutely electric energy on the field. Singing Navy Blue and Gold at the end of the game surrounded by the football team and all our fellow midshipmen is truly my most treasured memory from my time here at the Naval Academy." You can get a glimpse of this energy in this amazing video. I'm there too!
Want more Navy Spirit action? You can learn more about the team and find their schedule here. The NABSD supports Navy Spirit and all of the 140 USNA clubs at the Naval Academy. You can too! Every time you make a purchase on this site, visit the Yard, take a tour or enjoy our wonderful dining experiences, the NABSD gives all profits back to these incredible midshipmen. Come catch a game and see the Navy Spirit team in action. I’ve been to a few in my day, and I can tell you that it’s like nothing you’ve ever experienced.