Life at N*avy, Playlists, and More

with Special Guest Karl Smith, Parent USNA ’20


There is something about being a Naval Academy parent that is different from all other colleges. First of all, your wardrobe changes in its entirety to Blue and Gold – and dare I say, all things with anchors? From hats to socks, to coffee mugs, to unmentionables – with anchors when possible, but definitely blue and/or gold. It may happen gradually or all at once but it does happen. You may begin speaking in acronyms. You are automatically a member of a unique Division 1 varsity sport team called Waldo Hunting. People may begin to run when they see you coming because you will accost them with pictures of your Plebe or Mid (Just kidding! Not really…). But seriously, aside from all of the above, it is the company along the way that makes it different, that makes a difference, and that makes it all worthwhile.

You will do things that you would not dream of simply because it is for your Navy family – such as taking complete strangers into your home or striking up a conversation with someone wearing a Navy shirt, an anchor, or just blue and gold. And there is an instant connection – it is those connections that make our journey as USNA parents special – and possible. These friendships and bonds are Forged by the Sea so to speak, and are stronger than we know – even with people that we have never met.

We also take on huge projects even though we don’t have to – you just do it for family. That is how I got started with a two year approval process for my Class Crest Coin Project that is still going strong, wrote my book A USNA Mom’s Journal, and so much more.

Enter Karl Smith, a fellow 2020 parent, who turned our class upside down with his creativity, friendliness, and wit. Right out of the box he took it upon himself to create a Plebe No More class t-shirt, started his blog, My Kid the Mid, and accumulated friendships across classes. He became a force for good and pulled the entire USNA community together to celebrate during happy times and gave us insightful and heartfelt messages during incredibly difficult times of loss too. He also persevered alongside many 2020 parents to make an “in-person” graduation and Oath of Office possible for our 2020 Mids, which made the virtual commissioning sting a little less. And of course, he is most famous for his famous – or infamous – Herndon class playlist, now on its fifth year.

It is needless to say that we crossed paths many times in the virtual world and have become fast friends and collaborators on various projects. I am sure that I will get to meet Karl and Ruth Smith in person one day soon, but in the meantime, I thought we would get together virtually for a conversation about Life at N*avy, Playlists, and More, and about being parents along the USNA journey. Join me for this fun visit on Episode 4 – Life at N*avy, Playlists, and More.