October 12, 2008

Calling football in Navajo

Play by play, Navajo style

Football announcer Cuyler Frank to call LSU playsWhen The New York Times, USA Today, ESPN and Fox Sports Network were all calling him, “it was the coolest time,” recalls history-making football announcer Cuyler Frank, DinĂ©, “but hectic.”

“I was even a Jeopardy question.”

In high school, Frank had been on his way to making his name in another sport--bull riding. But a car accident one night stole not only championship dreams, but his will to live.

Now his voice is heard across the Navajo nation, broadcasting New Mexico State University Aggies football games in Navajo. On Nov. 15, a Southeastern Conference game will be aired in Navajo for the first time when Frank sits in the booth of the Louisiana State University Tigers.

The groundbreaking sound of the collegiate play-by-play reaching the reservation in the Native language captivated the attention of the mass media in 2005. “It was Sept. 23, 2005”--Frank lists the date by heart--when New Mexico State became the first university to broadcast a game in Navajo.


Anonymous said...

Are many of teh Indigenous languages becoming extinct? I thought all native languages were lost.

Rob said...

Many Native languages have been lost. Many more are endangered.

A few have enough speakers that they're safe for the moment. Navajo is one of these.

For more on Native languages, see my Pictographs blog.