At eight the next morning the many sections marched off to recitations and for hours the grind of the day was on. At the Naval Academy, as at West Point, not even football is allowed to interfere in the least with studies or recitations. No football player is permitted to go into section room, after extra practice in the field, and announce himself unprepared to recite. Only midshipmen of a good grade of scholarship are permitted to join or remain in the football squad.
Late in the afternoon, when recreation time came, all was speedily changed. Every member of the squad hastily reported in togs. Scores of midshipmen not of the squad hastened over to see the practice work. The scores were presently increased to hundreds. Fifty or more Naval officers detailed at the yard were scattered along the side lines. Many of the wives and daughters of officers stationed at Annapolis turned out to view the work. Other young ladies came from Annapolis. There was also a big delegation of “St. Johnnies,” as the gray-clad young men from St. John’s College are called.
The news had evidently traveled far that the Navy had two new men on the team who were expected to prove “wonders.”
“A big part of this crowd is out to see you and Danny boy,” Hepson remarked to Darrin.
“Haven’t they anything better to do with their time, then?” laughed Dave.
“Great Scott, man! Every one of the spectators wants to see the Navy beat the Army this year.”
“But these spectators are a heap cheered up by what they’ve heard about you and Dalzell.”
Dave, however, went about his work all but unconsciously. Never much of an egotist, he declined to believe himself the star man of the Navy eleven.
When Coach Havens called off the two teams that were to play that day, Jetson observed that he was not called for either.
“It looks as though Darrin has queered me,” muttered that midshipman gloomily to himself. “I didn’t think Darrin was quite as bad as that.”
After the practice game had started, and Dave had put through the most brilliant play that he had yet exhibited, the air rang with his name from hundreds of throats.
“That’s the way!” grumbled Jetson. “It’s all Darrin now! These idiots will forget that I was ever at Annapolis.”
Jetson sulked about. After the rebuke he had received the day before from the head coach, he did not dare to carry his sulk so far as to go and un-tog without leave.
Towards the end of the first half of the practice game, a man on the second team was hurt enough to be retired, and Joyce was called.
“They might have given me a chance,” quivered Jetson sulkily. “I’m a lot better player than the fool coach imagines. But, anyway, I suppose Darrin has turned the coach and Hepson against me. I owe Darrin for that one!”
Five minutes later another player of the second eleven was retired with an injured wrist.