"But the game. We played a good game. I felt the team did real good coming from behind like that. Sure it would be better if we won, but we didn't. And we didn't play a bad ball game."
He shifted his big frame to pull on a sock. You could see the red marks on his thigh beginning to turn purple and yellow—ample evidence of how bitterly this game had been contested.
"That Morales," Reifsnyder went on. "He played a good game for Army. You could tell him when he hit. Hard and fast. He'd pick you right up and carry you a yard. Nobody else hit that hard."
Smitty came over. Smitty the captain, the one Reifsnyder had urged the coach to take out of the game. His arm was so stiff someone had to help him tie his shoes and knot his tie. His face was red, so were his eyes. He just shook Reifsnyder's hand. "We tried, Bob. We tried." He left. Reifsnyder said:
"I got two more years to play. Smitty...well this was his last game. He feels pretty bad. I can understand. But I got two years left. My mother, father and my girl saw it today. It's kind of like a dream come true. I mean playing in a big game like this with your folks and your girl in the stands. And a good game, too."
Other teammates came over to Reifsnyder's locker.
"Great game, Bob." But the voices were sober, not jubilant. One said:
"They didn't even ask us to vote on it. Didn't ask us."
They were talking about the Sugar Bowl. They were resentful, openly so. They had not yet learned that Admirals do not ask in the Navy. But they were learning.
Reifsnyder, nearly dressed in his uniform, pulled on a powder-blue sweater over his regulation white shirt and black tie. Then he slipped on his uniform blouse. When it was buttoned, you could just see a little of the powder blue sticking out where his lapels made a V.