Joe Ruzicka is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and a former legislative fellow for Senator John McCain (R-AZ). He has accumulated over 2000 hours in the F-14 Tomcat and F/A-18 Hornet and was the Radar Intercept Officer (RIO) to fly the final F-14 Tomcat Demonstration. He can usually be found stuck in Washington, D.C., traffic.
The last week of college football’s regular season is reserved for the truest of all amateur sporting events. With no other games this Saturday, teams from West Point and Annapolis take the field in Philadelphia before a captive national audience. The Army and Navy squads carry few — if any — NFL prospects, so the game is a true showcase for amateur competition on college football’s national stage.
7th Fleet, the U.S. Navy’s Pacific forward deployed naval force, has burned itself out; the cost of this burnout is poor readiness, loss of ships and equipment, and most importantly, sailors’ lives. Since January, four significant ship mishaps have occurred in the 7th’s area of responsibility (AOR), including fatal collisions with merchant ships for the USS Fitzgerald and the USS John S. McCain. Those two incidents killed 17 sailors — significantly more than the number of U.S. service numbers lost in the Afghanistan war zone so far in 2017. This summer has been a watershed moment for the 7th Fleet family.
CBS golf analyst Peter Kostis called Navy Veteran Billy Hurley III’s victory on June 26 at the PGA’s Quicken Loans National golf tournament the “Golf story of the Year.” It might arguably be the golf story of the decade, but more importantly, the service academy sports story of the century.
Thursday’s NFL draft will have several college football players hoping they get a phone call from one of 32 professional teams. The opportunity to play professional football is a lifetime dream for most college players, but many of them will likely not be one of 253 draftees selected. For those not drafted, their future hinges on obtaining a roster spot through free agency or the more likely scenario: trying to figure out what they are going to do with rest of their lives beyond football.