Aircraft carriers are good for many things. First and foremost is the launching of fighter jets into combat. Then there is the force projection that an aircraft carrier and its escort fleet bring to geopolitics. They are even perfect for triumphant handshakes between rival fighter pilots after fighting against “the enemy”. But basketball?
Seriously, who would even think of hosting a college basketball game on top of an aircraft carrier?
Apparently the Pentagon is thinking of having a college basketball game on top of an aircraft carrier. Service officially relaunches Armed Forces Classic after skipping 2020 and 2021, with Gonzaga and Michigan State men’s basketball teams facing off aboard USS Abraham Lincoln for Veterans Day .
The Nov. 11 match is the first to be held on an aircraft carrier deck in a decade. Gonzaga and Michigan State will be only the sixth college basketball game ever played on such a ship. The Armed Forces Classic did not begin until 2012. A similar match, the Carrier Classic, hosted carrier games in 2011 (the inaugural event on the USS Carl Vinson) and 2012, but ended finished after this year, and until 2022, the games too. on carriers.
The current game setup has many challenges. A cockpit is a very different surface than a regulation basketball court. As people noted after the Carrier Classic 2012, past games have had incidents of players slipping or being cut off by the wind, because again, they’re playing basketball outside on an aircraft carrier. Condensation on the deck was causing delays and risking injury to players. Even on non-portable games, there were issues; the 2015 Armed Forces Classic at Marine Corps Base Smedley D. Butler in Japan had to be canceled at halftime due to severe weather (it did not count toward either team’s records). Gonzaga was one of the teams in the 2015 game, so this is a chance for the Bulldogs to try and make up for that unfinished game. This year’s game will have the USS Abraham Lincoln in San Diego, so the weather shouldn’t be a big concern, but there are sure to be other places besides an aircraft carrier to play basketball. Right?
The other question is what does it do for the sailors of the ship? Presumably some will be able to watch the game, but that’s additional setup and crew work. The Navy is already facing serious morale problems across the service, desertions, suicides and there has been a continuous shooting of commanders. Gonzaga vs. Michigan State will definitely be a good basketball game, but it won’t address serious Marine concerns.
Also, if someone gets a winning slam dunk, will they try to buzz the tower on foot in celebration?
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