FOOTBALL AND THE NAVAJO NATION
I have long believed that SPORTS ILLUSTRATED regularly provides intelligent analysis of issues in and around sport. Even with that as background, I was pleasantly surprised by the mention in your Sept. 10 COLLEGE FOOTBALL column of the Northern Arizona University vs. New Mexico Highlands football game that took place on Navajo Nation lands. N. Brooks Clark wrote sensitively on issues of concern to the Navajo people. As he noted, the game itself was somewhat less than competitive, but that didn't deflate the good feeling the two schools generated among both Navajo and non-Navajo spectators.
I'm the attorney for the high school that made its field available for the game, and all of us in the Window Rock Schools district appreciated the opportunity to participate in the festivities. We hope that our students will heed Dr. Annie Wauneka's halftime exhortation to "go forward, stay in school and go to college." Certainly this game, lopsided though the score was, was a better advertisement for the true value of college athletics than the Florida- Miami game (covered in the same issue), which was played against a background of sordid goings-on at the University of Florida.
Window Rock, Ariz.
I enjoyed Douglas S. Looney's article on the University of Pittsburgh's outstanding offensive lineman. Bill Fralic ("I Know I'm Different," Sept. 10). While Joe Moore, Pitt's line coach, certainly has an incredible record of producing fine linemen, I'd like to point out a similarly fantastic achievement at the University of Southern California.
The Trojans have turned out 20 first-team All-America offensive linemen in the past 20 years. The list reads like a Who's Who of future NFL greats, from Ron Yary, Steve Riley, Marvin Powell and Pat Howell to Brad Budde, Keith Van Horne, Don Mosebar and Bruce Matthews. Many of those All-Americas—eight to be exact—were coached by Hudson Houck, now in his second year with the Los Angeles Rams. During his seven-year stay at USC, all but four of Houck's senior Trojan starters went on to play in the NFL.
There's a good chance, too, that many of this year's starting linemen—players like Ken Ruettgers, Tom Hallock, James FitzPatrick and Jeff Bregel—coached by Pat Morris, an ex-Trojan lineman himself, will soon make a name for themselves in the pros.
USC Sports Information Director
Bil Gilbert's story (Pitchin' Shoes) in the Sept. 24 issue was a delight. We here in the cold North pitch, too, while the wheat and sunflowers approach harvest time. Unfortunately, winter comes all too soon and drives us in, but then, that's what pinochle was invented for.
I find one fault, though. Surely Dr. James Naismith turned over in his grave when his brainchild, basketball, was excluded from the list of "honest-to-God, might-as-well, where's-it-at American games." Surely basketball, too, has "flourished in our space and culture" as it has no place else.
Grand Forks, N. Dak.
? SI's editors raised the same point, but Gilbert's feeling—and his story is written from a very personal point of view—is that basketball failed to qualify for his list because it's an "indoor" game. "It started in a damn gym." he says, "whereas rodeo, baseball and pitching horseshoes are part of the environment of the country, they're part of the land."—ED.
As a transplanted Hoosier from Frankfort, Ind. living in Minnesota, I have for years been telling stories about the legendary Curt Day and his ability to pitch shoes. At long last, SI has given me some credibility. Thank you.
ANDREW I. COULTER
If I were a baseball manager, I'd be kicking dirt on your shoes after finding 11 pages of the Sept. 24 issue wasted on horseshoe pitching.
JUNE E. COOLEY
San Jose, Calif.