Blog: Easy Money at West Point

Burt Ross

When Trump spoke at the West Point graduation earlier this year, I was reminded of when I went to the Military Academy many decades ago. No, my loyal reader, not as a cadet (I could never have gotten in), but as a young man wanting to enjoy a beautiful autumn day watching an Army football game.

I brought a picnic lunch and tailgated along with thousands of other football enthusiasts including many cadets and their families. Army was a mediocre football team at best and they were playing Washington, a football powerhouse which had won the Rose Bowl the prior year.

In my infinite wisdom, I decided to make some easy money. I bet ten different cadet families $20 that the Huskies would beat Army. These cadets were such loving fans that I didn’t even have to give them points—such loyalty and such stupidity! This was the closest thing to shooting fish in a barrel.

The game started and for some inexplicable reason did not go exactly according to plan. At halftime Army was in the lead by 3 points. I just couldn’t understand why the winner of the Rose Bowl wasn’t annihilating Army. When I expressed my consternation out loud, a nearby cadet started to laugh, “The University of Washington won the Rose Bowl last year. This team is Washington State. These are the Cougars not the Huskies.”

I could not believe my ears. Huskies, cougars—give me a break! How many damn teams play in Washington anyway—too many, that’s for sure.

I hoped for a miracle, but a miracle was not to be. Army extended its lead over whatever Washington team this was, and I spent an hour after the game handing out $20 bills to some very happy cadets and their families.

If there is a moral to this sad tale, I guess it is “don’t go to West Point for a football game.”