It likely will be easy to pick out Troy Davidson at Saturday's Army-Navy game in Philadelphia. Just look for the Army shirt sitting amid a sea of Navy supporters.
Troy, a 1984 U.S. Military Academy graduate, will be at Saturday's game – presented by USAA – with his family. Among those in his family is his daughter Katie, who will graduate this spring from the U.S. Naval Academy.
Katie also swims for the Naval Academy, so Troy has not only needed to be a dad to his daughter, but also become somewhat of a fan of his alma mater's bitter rival. He was at the Army-Navy swim meet Thursday night in Philadelphia, wearing a Navy t-shirt. No, scratch that – wearing a Navy Swimming t-shirt.
"I always put on a Navy Swimming t-shirt, and I'll go that far," Troy said. "But I won't go anywhere wearing a ‘Beat Army' t-shirt. I draw the line there."
Troy and his wife, Karen, got to Philadelphia Wednesday so they could watch their daughter swim against Army. The two programs met in Philadelphia two years ago and were scheduled to swim in Annapolis, Md., for a Navy home meet this season. But because of renovations being done to Navy's pool – and because of a very positive experience the last time the two teams swam against each other in Philadelphia – the meet was moved to the host city of the Army-Navy football game. A full house at The Salvation Army Kroc Center was there to cheer on both squads.
"It's the first time we've made it to the Army-Navy game as a family," said Karen, who lives in Chicago with her husband. "It's not just a football game. It's better than any other college rivalry or any professional rivalry. This is it right here.
"They're bitter rivals. But it's neat because after they graduate, there's a brotherhood. It's the real world for these guys after they leave the academies, but there's a connection between them."
Karen said that despite her husband's academic lineage, both were very supportive when Katie decided to head to Annapolis. And she and the Naval Academy have been a pretty good fit. In addition to being a standout swimmer, she's ranked No. 1 academically in her class, was named to the 2012 Patriot League All-Academic Team, and is the first female editor-in-chief of "The LOG Magazine" in its 90 years of publication. She was also recently awarded a Marshall Scholarship – one of just 40 such winners each year – thus earning the opportunity to study at Queen's University in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and King's College in London.
Troy said it's difficult to imagine watching his daughter go through graduation ceremonies. "I really get choked up when I think about that," he said. "It will be very, very hard to watch that, but I will be very proud. And she's done pretty well – better than I did."