Ralph Wiley's profile of Washington Redskins cornerback Barry Wilburn and his family was outstanding (Born To Be a Champion, Aug. 8). I was happy to see Barry's father, Jesse, get some national recognition, albeit some 30 years after the fact. In 1953, I was a freshman at Melrose High when Jesse and the Golden Wildcats were on the way to a state championship. And in 1957, when I was a freshman at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Mo., our undefeated and untied team met the Tennessee State team. Our squad was fired up, but a superior Tennessee State team, with a strong rushing attack led by Jesse, beat us 26-6. I agree with Grambling coach Eddie Robinson's assessment of Jesse—"Now this was a ballplayer."
COL. JAMES A. YOUNG, USA
If America had more parents like Margaret and Jesse Wilburn, we would have more kids like Barry and fewer young people involved in drugs, etc. Margaret gave up the Rome Olympics for her family; Jesse gave up coaching to support his family. What a pair! What a touching story!
THE GOOD THINGS
Way to go, Ron Fimrite! Your POINT AFTER "No Fun Without the Sun" (Aug. 8) was a terrific rebuttal to the health nuts. After all, how much fun would life be without an occasional 2 a.m. dash to a 7-Eleven to ingest a beef burrito? What would a fishing trip be without a stogie or a chaw? What would a weekend golf match be without any beer to drink after nine? You tell me, bodies-in-motion, fiber-for-breakfast boys and girls: Who is enjoying life more?
RICH HOFFMANN JR.
Little Falls, N.J.
We have a husband/father who runs marathons, eats raisins, fusses at smokers, exercises constantly and stays in the shade at God's most wonderful creation, the beach. The three of us framed Ron Fimrite's essay and presented it to our health nut. Thank heaven he has maintained his sense of humor. You provided the family with a wonderful opportunity for a good laugh.
JO, CRAIG AND KELLY ROBERTSON
Ron Fimrite was correct in asserting that many fitness freaks often exhibit an obnoxious, self-righteous, healthier-than-thou attitude. However, Fimrite missed the point concerning the issue that caused him to write the article: health nuts warning against sun exposure. What many people have been suggesting recently is that very soon even limited exposure to the sun may be unhealthy, especially if we keep abusing the atmosphere at the current level. Like Fimrite, I try to avoid worrying too much about being healthy, enjoying as many hours in the sun as I can. But I fear that our children may not be able to be so carefree.
As a resident of the land of Bear Bryant, please allow me to answer some of the questions raised by Austin Murphy (Low Tide for Alabama, Aug. 8).
"Would such incidents have occurred under Bryant?" The answer is yes, and it is not based on conjecture but rather on history. Such players as Joe Namath and Ken Stabler rebelled against authority—and were accordingly punished by the Bear. Bill Curry has not taken a backseat to Bryant in this regard. The reason Joe King "won't be suiting up for Alabama again" is that Curry did not invite him to rejoin the program.
"Will Curry have cause to plant a garden for next year if 'Bama fails to beat cross-state rival Auburn this year?" Again the answer is yes—if cooler heads prevail. While I revere the memory of Bryant, I also recall that the Tide did not set the world on fire in his first year at the helm. What's more, 'Bama suffered consecutive mediocre seasons under Bryant in 1969 and '70.
The incidents to which Murphy refers are indeed an embarrassment—to the young men involved and to their families, not to the university. To wear that crimson jersey is still the dream of thousands of kids. The Alabama program under the guidance of Bill Curry is returning to—not departing from—the solid values of the Bryant era.
Eight Mile, Ala.