By T. C. MdConnell, Col. (Ret)
A 13-year-long wager over the annual Army-Navy game leads to a long friendship in Anacortes.
In 2002, Anacortes resident and Naval Academy graduate, CDR USN (Ret) Hunter Ware, and his uncle and West Point graduate, COL USA (Ret) Tom McConnell, residing in Chattanooga, began a bet on the annual Army-Navy football game.
The wager was a $100 bottle of each’s drink of choice…Hunter liked 16-yr Single Malt Lagavulin Scotch and Tom favored 20-yr A Midwinter Night’s Dram Rye Whiskey.
Navy won that year and again for the next 12 straight years!
Tom found Compass Wines in Anacortes and contacted the owner, Doug Charles, who told him that he only sold wine but for this interesting wager he would secure the Scotch at a local liquor store and even hand deliver it to Hunter!
He repeated this act of kindness every year for 13 consecutive years.
During that time, Doug and Hunter and Tom became close friends, although Doug and Tom have never met. Tom congratulated Doug on the birth of every grandchild, school graduation, or other distinct event in Doug’s life; and Doug reciprocated at every distinct event in Tom’s life. Tom even facilitated gleaning information from the West Point library for a writing project Doug undertook during their long-distance relationship.
Well, as fate would have it, Army finally won in 2016 and continued that winning streak for 3 straight years.
This year, 2019, Hunter and Tom decided would be the last year of their wager, so Tom recently reached out to Doug, apologized for the 3-yr sabbatical, and informed him of this being the last year of the bet.
Tom promised to visit Doug if/when he ever goes to Anacortes to visit Hunter and his family.
Fingers were crossed in the Ware and McConnell families for the outcome of the game yesterday, Dec. 14, in Philadelphia.
May the better team win!
It is said that the competing teams of this phenomenal rivalry are the only teams who would die for the other on the field of battle…something to think about….
PostScript: Navy won 31-7.