Home of the State’s Capital, Annapolis and Anne Arundel County offer 17 sprawling turf fields with lighting, a 38,000 seat Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, a nationally recognized Chesapeake BMX Arena, and 100 plus multi-use fields and parks.
Sport tourism in Annapolis dates back to the pre-Revolutionary War era — even though nobody called it “sport tourism” back then. From 1769 to 1775, the Maryland Jockey Club hosted the Annapolis Subscription Plate, which is considered the second-oldest horse racing trophy in the country. Rumor has it that George Washington and other U.S. politicians dropped some coin at the club, which still exists today as the corporate name of a company that operates multiple horse racing tracks in the state.
The Naval Academy’s football program is one of the nation’s oldest, with its history dating back to 1879. There were two separate efforts to establish a Naval Academy football team in 1879. The first was guided by first-classman J.H. Robinson, who developed it as a training regiment to help keep the school’s baseball team in shape. The team played the sport under rules that made it much closer to soccer, where the players were permitted only to kick the ball in order to advance it. The second effort, headed by first-classman William John Maxwell was more successful in its efforts. Maxwell met with two of his friends, Tunstall Smith and Henry Woods, who played for the Baltimore Athletic Club and officially challenged their team to a game with the Naval Academy. A team was formed from academy first-classmen, which Maxwell led as a manager, trainer, and captain. The team would wake up and practice before reveille and following drill and meals. The squad received encouragement from some of the faculty, who allowed them to eat a late dinner and skip final drill for additional practicing. This was against the direct orders of the school superintendent, who had banned football and similar activities.
Large-scale events that have taken place in Anne Arundel County over the past year are the Naptown Challenge, a lacrosse tournament hosted by Hogan Lacrosse, 10k Across the Bay, a foot race taking place across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, and still to come, the Military Bowl sponsored by Northrop Grumman, where two college football teams will compete at the Navy Marine-Corps Stadium on the 27th of December. Looking in the future, Anne Arundel County will be hosting the NHL Stadium Series (Washington-Toronto) as well as the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Quarterfinal Lacrosse Championship.
“Off the water or away from the field, athletes and families can find much to do in Annapolis and Anne Arundel County”, said Denise Bosmans, VAAAC Director of Sales. “In addition to the Naval Academy and State House, the area is home to a thriving art scene, festivals, historical attractions and restaurants in a wide variety of price points”.
To learn more about Anne Arundel County and Annapolis, please visit their website for more information.