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I’D ONLY BEEN AWAY FROM TEXAS a few months, but I was already getting homesick—especially for barbecue and high school football. However, after I received “Three Cheers for High School Football!” [October 1999], I felt like I was sitting on a cold bleacher on a Friday night. I could almost hear the band blaring and the booster club second-guessing a fourth-and-four run. I could almost see the option right and the homecoming mums. I could almost smell the Frito pie and popcorn. I was almost there.
Las Vegas has blackjack, craps, and Wayne Newton, but I’d rather go to a Brownwood versus Sweetwater game any day. Thanks for putting me back in the stands.
AT FIRST GLANCE YOU APPEARED to cover all the important areas of the Texas Friday-night theater, i.e. best teams, cheerleaders, and bands. However, you opted out on mentioning that half-time spectacular of feminine pulchritude—the drill team.
LET’S GET TO THE TRUE GAME that counts in the Golden Triangle area: One of the longest-standing rivalries in Texas is the Mid-County Bowl, between the Nederland Bulldogs and the Port Neches-Groves Indians. This rivalry has been going on for years. Sure, PNG has the most wins, but Big Ned surely pays no attention to that fact. This game makes the blood boil in the fans of both teams, young and old, married and single, friends and foes. I have friends who are married to PNG exes that sit on opposite sides of the field during the game and pick at each other the entire week of the game.
WHILE WE APPLAUD THE TURNAROUND season experienced by the 1998 Marfa 1A football team, the Navarro Panthers of Geronimo also hold this title. The Legislature honored the Panthers in May of this year as having the single greatest turnaround season in Texas high school football history. The District 29-2A Panthers entered the 1998 season with an 0-10 record (they had lost the previous 23 games). They went on to finish the regular season at 9-1, sharing the district championship honors with the Poth Pirates. Navarro then won its first-ever post-season game and was named 2A UIL Gatorade State Sportsmanship Champ.
THE CELEBRITY HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL HALL of fame section should have included the quarterback of the football team at San Antonio’s West Texas Military Academy (now part of Texas Military Institute)—General Douglas MacArthur.
Jeffrey M. Hooper
YOUR ARTICLE ON WESTLAKE FOOTBALL has stirred things up here in West Lake Hills [“We Love the Westlake Chaps. No, Really,” October 1999]. The more-vocal half of the community thinks it’s utter blasphemy, while the other half is quietly chatting about how true it really is. No one in West Lake Hills is ashamed of his money, and there is no reason to be, but it hits a nerve when the expensive toys (new cars, expensive clothes, and the like) given to the kids of these prominent families are mentioned by an “outsider.”
From what I’ve seen, the sports programs here, while putting some talented people in the spotlight, have also swept other talented people under the rug. All in all, I think the people of West Lake Hills need to step back for a second and look at the article as a lot of facts with little criticism and not the attack on Westlake so many people have made it out to be.
YOU PROCLAIM THAT “IT IS FINALLY time to stop hating the best high school football team of the decade.” However, as a current LBJ High School student, it is hard to do that, especially because of all of the negative feelings regarding racial relationships and diversity that have surrounded LBJ and Westlake. The article seems to have been written as a defense of Westlake, an attempt to paint a nice portrait of the football program, while in reality, the program is nothing more than spoiled rich kids being pressured by overbearing fans, coaches, and parents.
THOUGH GRUDGINGLY COMPLIMENTARY, your article has an undercurrent of jealousy seeping through. The final paragraph seems to suggest that being “born in the right place to the right people” is some kind of guarantee for success. Indeed! There are no guarantees of anything in this life—even in Texas.
As the parent of a freshman at Westlake, it is my observation that Westlake succeeds academically and athletically for one simple reason: total commitment, by the faculty and administrators, and especially by the parents. Isn’t that a model for success? Shouldn’t that be the goal of every Texas community?
While a large percentage of Westlake students were born and raised in the area, a sizable number land here by virtue of parents’ being transferred here through business. Why do they choose the Eanes School District when selecting a house? It’s the school system, which affords the opportunity to maximize one’s chances for success. How do you argue with that?
WE VISITED CIBOLO CREEK RANCH last New Year’s Eve, and I will say that out of all my travels around the world, I put it among the top places I’ve stayed [“Hey, Dude,” October 1999]. Everything was perfect. All of the rooms are decorated differently in the Old West style. A museum in the original portion of the fort is filled with magnificent paintings and furniture from that era, and there is a great deal of history behind the family that originally settled there. The founder of the ranch, Milton Faver, built the fort in the mid-1800’s on the remains of the Spanish mission settlement of the Cíbolo Indians. All of this makes for a wonderful vacation.
Mary Louise Dickehut
Editor’s note: In “Hey, Dude,” our story on dude ranches, a photograph of Prude Ranch includes Casket Mountain. Though the mountain is indeed one of the many extraordinary vistas enjoyed by the visitors to Prude Ranch, it is actually part of the Sproul Ranch, which has been owned by the same family since 1886.
GEOFF RIPS’S DEEPLY MOVING ACCOUNT of the turnaround at Runn Elementary School in the Rio Grande Valley is one of the most powerful, sensitively written stories about education I’ve read in years [Education: “Runn Also Rises,” October 1999]. Thanks for running it, and gratitude to Mr. Rips for acknowledging that deep human care may be the most basic Basic a school can provide.
Naomi Shihab Nye
I ENJOYED PAUL BURKA’S ARTICLE ON Governor Bush until I came to the conclusion [Behind the Lines: “Obstacle Course,” October 1999]. I’d rather have the president carry out the will of Congress instead of trying to make Congress follow him, as you suggest.