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PERSPECTIVE

As Captain Andrew Luck retreats, Navy safety is ambushed with a parody Twitter account

The Captain Elan Nash Twitter feed features messages sent by the Navy football player as a Civil War soldier.

TWITTER, U.S. NAVY.

By BILL WAGNER | The Capital, Annapolis, Md. | Published: September 20, 2019

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (Tribune News Service) — NFL quarterback Andrew Luck stunned the football world by abruptly announcing his retirement in August.

Captain Andrew Luck, the parody Twitter account that had more than 50,000 followers, was retired along with the Indianapolis Colts star.

One day later, a Twitter account titled Captain Elan Nash (@elan_nash) made its debut. It featured a photo of the Navy football player dressed as a Union soldier from the Civil War and the description: Safety. Son. Soldier.

It was a complete copycat of the Captain Andrew Luck Twitter feed with Nash purportedly writing to his mother about current events as though he were a soldier in the Union Army.

That inaugural post on August 26, six days before the Navy season opener against Holy Cross, read: Dearest Mother, Our scouts have received news that the Crusaders have marched on to our enclave. I know not the outcome, but our unit is prepared for this skirmish. I will command my troops on this feverish fall day to the best of my ability. – Elan

At some point on that Monday, the real Elan Nash – a senior safety on the Navy football team – logged on to Twitter and discovered the new account. Nash, whose actual Twitter handle is @elannash8, was quite amused. Nash had followed the Captain Andrew Luck account, so he immediately recognized this was a spinoff.

“It was right around the time of Andrew Luck’s retirement. When it popped up, I was confused at first, but when I realized what it was I laughed about it,” Nash told The Capital this week.

“Then I started pressing all my friends to find out who is behind it. I still haven’t confirmed who it is, but I have some ideas,” Nash added.

On the eve of the home opener at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Captain Elan Nash wrote to his dearest mother again. “Tis the night before the Crusaders lay siege upon our foothold. My unit waits anxiously for this upcoming strife. Our uniforms: crisp. Our hands: steady. Our aim: true. Steadfast, mother. Steadfast. – Elan

Word of the hilarious new account spread like wildfire through the Navy football team with most of the players becoming followers. That led other supporters of Navy athletics to join the fun and the Captain Elan Nash account now has more than 220 followers.

County Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo as one of those followers.

“I actually have seen it. Somebody showed it to me. It’s pretty funny. I don’t know how Elan is taking it,” Niumatalolo said this week.

Elan Nash is among the first to retweet the missives and comment on them.

“I think it’s hilarious. Whoever is behind that is pretty smart and putting out some good content,” Nash said. “It’s been very amusing. A lot of guys on the team are getting a kick out of it.”

Randi Raskin Nash, back home in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania, follows her son on Twitter and now follows the parody account as well.

“No one finds it funnier than my own mom. I make sure to screen shot and send them all to her. She loves it,” Elan Nash said.

Nash started at free safety and recorded four tackles with a pass breakup as Navy routed Holy Cross, 45-7, on August 31. Captain Elan Nash was in a celebratory mood the following day when he wrote his mother again, presumably from his dormitory room in Bancroft Hall.

“My heart bursts with joy to inform you we have valiantly defended our homeland. We won this battle, but our toil has just begun. My quill trembles in excitement as I write. My men have earned a hardy meal of salted pork and molasses for their efforts. – Elan.

As was the case with the Captain Andrew Luck Twitter feed, this parody account is witty and creative. Whoever is responsible has accurately mimicked the style and prose of the Civil War era, just as the authors of Captain Andrew Luck did.

Ryan Van Bibber, a sports editor with SB Nation, originally created the Andrew Luck as a Civil War general meme. In an interview with the IndyStar, Van Bibber said the idea just came to him while watching an Indianapolis Colts game and noticing Luck’s “bizarre” facial hair – full mustache and beard with unkempt sideburns.

Van Bibber described it as “Victorian Era” facial hair, while a colleague at SB Nation exclaimed that Luck “looks like a Civil War general.” That was followed by someone else suggesting that Van Bibber begin writing as though he were General Andrew Luck.

It turns out that Van Bibber was ideally suited to do so considering he was a history major in college and had studied the Civil War at length. He was also a devoted follower of the Ken Burns documentary “Civil War,” which relied heavily upon narration of letters written by soldiers on both sides to loved ones.

Van Bibber wrote approximately 10 letters as “General Andrew Luck” before retiring the meme, saying “the joke eventually wears out.” However, the character, image and persona spawned the Twitter account “Captain Andrew Luck,” which swept the nation.

Elan Nash, like all midshipmen, is clean-shaven. However, the head shot of Nash that was photo-shopped onto a Union soldier body for the Twitter account has a full mustache and beard. That means whoever created the account knew such a photo existed and had access to it.

“It’s got to be somebody close by. I’m going to assume it’s one of my teammates,” Nash said. “It’s probably someone close to me, someone who is in my inner circle.”

Navy’s football team is loaded with interesting characters and personalities. Nash is not even one of the four team captains, so why was he chosen as the subject for this Twitter account?

“Once we find out who it is you will have to ask him,” said Nash, who has vowed not to rest until identifying the perpetrator.

Perhaps it has something to do with the fact Nash attended Unionville High in Pennsylvania, a state strongly associated with the Civil War. Nash thinks some teammates are spoofing his personality and manner.

“A lot of guys tease me about the way I talk sometimes and the way I carry myself in certain situations,” Nash said. “I wasn’t shocked they picked me, but you’ll have to ask them what the real reasons were.”

Naturally, a large contingent of Twitter users that stumbled onto the parody account thought it was being written by the real Elan Nash.

“There are a lot of people out there asking ‘Why are you doing this? What is with this account?’ I had to make it very clear that it wasn’t me,” Nash said. “It’s funny and I support it, but I wasn’t the one who created it.”

Captain Elan Nash took time to write his mother prior to Navy’s second home game against East Carolina in the American Athletic Conference opener for both schools.

“I have not written since the crescent moon, for this I ask for forgiveness. It is of newborn knowledge that we have spotted a fleet of pirate vessels in the distance making way to our beaches. I will honor your name whilst in battle until my dying day.” – Elan.

Nash came off the bench to record a career-high nine tackles as Navy routed East Carolina, 42-10, last Saturday. The 5-foot-11, 196-pound safety was rewarded for the performance by being presented with the newly created “Blue Collar Award” by defensive coordinator Brian Newberry.

“One guy that stood out to me was Elan Nash coming in and having nine tackles in kind of a sixth man role,” Newberry said. “I was really proud of the way he went about his business and how he attacked the week.”

That is exactly what one would expect of a Civil War captain.

©2019 The Capital (Annapolis, Md.)
Visit The Capital (Annapolis, Md.) at www.hometownannapolis.com
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