THE NAVY GOAT : Over 200 years ago, livestock was kept aboard some sea-going naval vessels to provide sailors with food, milk, eggs and, in some cases, pets. One legend about the first association of the goat with Navy football tells of a pet goat who died at sea while on board a Navy ship. The affection for the goat was such that the officers decided to save the skin of the animal and have it mounted upon arrival in port. Two young officers were entrusted with the skin when the ship docked in Baltimore. On the way to the taxidermist, the ensigns dropped in on their alma mater where a football game was in progress. With them -- for lack of a suitable storage place -- was the goat skin. While watching the first half of the game, one of the officers came up with an idea for some half-time entertainment. When half-time arrived, he romped up and down the sidelines cloaked with the goat skin barely covering his blue uniform. These antics brought howls of laughter from the midshipmen, and the Navy victory that day was attributed to the spirit of the late, lamented goat. It was not until 1893, however, that a live goat made his debut as a mascot at the fourth Army-Navy game. Finally, during the first service match of the 20th Century, the Naval Academy's beloved mascot was given a name. On the return trip to the Naval Academy after Annapolis' triumph over West Point, the goat was led on a victory lap through the train and did not leave the mids until they reached Baltimore. It was then that the goat was dubbed the now celebrated name "Bill." The name was borrowed from a pet goat kept by Commander Colby M. Chester, Commandant of Midshipmen from 1891-1894 and the first president of the Naval Academy Athletic Association.
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