Congratulations to Rick Reilly on his brilliant profile of Bryant Gumbel (The Mourning Anchor, Sept. 26). Gumbel is the antithesis of the "less is more" attitude. Through dedication and discipline, he continues to rise to the top of his profession. Once, in times gone by, everyone tried to be the best that he or she could be. Modern-day American sport and business could take a lesson from Gumbel.
After David Hartman left ABC's Good Morning America, I tried other channels. It was Bryant Gumbel's self-assuredness, integrity, wit and genius on NBC's Today that made a convert of me. Thank you for the revealing glimpse of Gumbel's life. It appears to me that his mother, Rhea Gumbel, places her own expectations above love and acceptance. It's her loss.
Bryant Gumbel is a pro as a broadcaster but an amateur as a human being. It's easy to see why he has few friends. Friendship begins with respect, and who can respect a multimillionaire who lets his mother live in relative poverty?
Achieving excellence in one's profession may be commendable, but at what cost? Gumbel seems to be failing miserably in areas of real importance.
North Andover, Mass.
How could a great, caring man like Richard Gumbel have had such a jerk for a son?
South Holland, Ill.
What a laugh! Andre Agassi "infuriated both [John] McEnroe and [Jimmy] Connors in the same evening" (The Grand Finale, Sept. 19). While I am still a Connors fan. and do not condone Agassi's announcing that he was going to beat Connors by a certain score, I am keenly aware that at the same point in their careers Connors and McEnroe were two of the worst-behaved players in history. Thank heaven for Agassi, an exciting prospect who injects a little humor and fun into the game. We already have more grim (Ivan Lendl) and dull (Mats Wilander) players than we need.
JAMES E. GARRETSON JR.
I had to laugh to keep from crying. Two enormously talented and courageous players gutted it out for almost five hours in an epic match, but we read that they bored us in another of their "tours de tedium." In this age of bravado and false courage, of McTantrums and drugged jocks, we should thank our lucky stars for Wilander and Lendl.
DAVID KIRKPATRICK, M.D.
While I don't always appreciate Curry Kirkpatrick's coverage of tennis, he was right on in his observation of the U.S. Open crowd's lukewarm reaction to Steffi Graf's Grand Slam. She deserved a wild standing ovation for this historic feat, instead of tentative applause.
Steffi Graf should be your Sportswoman of the Year. She is a brilliant athlete, and her remarkable accomplishment should not be obscured by the apathy of American sports fans and journalists.
Shame on you. Steffi Graf wins the Grand Slam and that is the best picture you could find for your cover?
What I would like to know is whether Steffi Graf's apathy is a facade. What does she have to say? We know she has a forehand, but does she have a voice?
MICHELE M. STRATTON
Penny Ward Moser is to be commended for her excellent reporting (A Dry and Thirsty Land, Sept. 12). While the nation watched more than a million acres of Yellowstone National Park burn, millions more acres of North American prairie slowly and quietly baked to dust, with scant public comprehension of the immensity of the loss. The duck breeding grounds of this continent are now virtually burned out, and unless those wetlands are restored and protected, the outlook for waterfowl and other wildlife will decline from bleak to none.
Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
In response to your prediction, "Hawaii will have a tough time scoring, but its opponents won't" (Scouting Reports-Conferences, Sept. 5), allow me to submit the scores for the Rainbows' first four games: Hawaii 27, Iowa 24; Hawaii 31, Colorado State 23; Hawaii 36, San Jose State 27; and Hawaii 48, Utah 20.
Gumbel, with his dedication to perfection, has room in his life for only a select few friends.
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