Navy football players visit White House, get trophy
April 12, 2013
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama welcomed the U.S. Naval Academy football team back to the White House Friday afternoon for the Commander in Chief’s Trophy presentation ceremony.
It was the Midshipmen's eighth trip to the White House in the past 10 years, having won 19 of their last 21 games against service academies.
The tone of the ceremony was light, with Obama occasionally joking with the team. “Michelle and I were thinking about just leaving the key under the rug,” Obama said in reference to Navy's frequent visits.
Throughout the ceremony, Obama gave shout-outs to various key players, including freshman quarterback Keenan Reynolds, who guided the Midshipmen to wins over Air Force (in overtime) and Army to bring home the trophy.
“We were on and off all season," Reynolds said in a phone interview earlier in the week. "It’s a different reward for all the hard work, and it lays a foundation for next season.
“I’m beyond excited [to go to the ceremony]. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
“This is my first time ever going to The White House," added sophomore fullback Noah Copeland. "It’s going to be a lot of fun, meeting the president. Winning the trophy means everything to me.
“I never dreamed that I would be in the military and get to meet the president.”
Obama spoke for about six minutes on Friday, with the trophy glistening on a table and the Navy players assembled behind him.
After being handed a Navy helmet by two members of the team, someone in the crowd shouted for Obama to put it on.
“Here’s the general rule: You don’t put stuff on your head if you’re president. That’s politics 101,” Obama said, laughing but admiring the helmet.