I commend Sally Jenkins for her story about Michael Irvin (The Mouth That Roars, Oct. 25). After learning about Irvin's tough background, I respect him even more. His fun-loving attitude along with his athletic ability and competitiveness make him a joy to watch.
As a United Parcel Service driver, I deliver in some neighborhoods like the one in which Michael Irvin grew up. I see and understand what he went through and what great odds he beat to get where he is today. Not many children in such neighborhoods will have a chance to be or even to meet someone of Irvin's caliber. He is a great role model.
Virginia Beach, Va.
It's too bad Irvin doesn't have the class to match his mouth. He could learn a lot from the NFL's best wideout—and one of its best people—Sterling Sharpe. Sharpe has toiled in relative anonymity in Green Bay, while Irvin and Jerry Rice have garnered much attention playing for Super Bowl-caliber teams.
Iowa City, Iowa
Leigh Montville's story on the tragedy that befell Zambia's national soccer team (Triumph on Sacred Ground, Oct. 18) brought tears to my eyes. As a Zambian, I have read many accounts of the airplane crash that killed 30 people, 18 of them players, but none brought out the emotions the way this one did. I grew up with four of the players, Wisdom Chansa, Debby Mankinka, Eustone Mulenga and Robert Watiakeni, and as I read the story and looked at those dramatic pictures, I couldn't help but mourn for my friends once again. Even as I write this letter, my eyes are going glassy.
Thank you for telling the world the story of Zambia's rise from the ashes.
Fort Gratiot, Mich.
For the last two years I lived in Lusaka, Zambia's capital. SI arrived late but regularly, and it was my lifeline to American sports. The Zambians in my office also devoured the magazine. Imagine my surprise when, having returned home, SI helped me to keep in touch with Zambian soccer.
I had wondered if I could ever make my American friends understand Zambia's love of soccer, its anguish and sorrow when the national team was lost and its courage in supporting a new team so quickly. Leigh Montville succeeded for me. Nice job.
I fought hard to keep my emotions in check as I read your article on the Bridgman (Mich.) Bees and the cancellation of the remainder of their football season (Generation Gap, Oct. 25). I played for the Bees in 1957, '58 and '59, their first three years of football. We were not very successful in those days, either—I can recall winning only four times, and we lost many games by huge scores—but I still remember my coaches, my teammates, many opposing players and even many specific plays. Losing almost every week wasn't much fun, but I learned valuable lessons about life from football. Some day the Bridgman players will also realize how much they gained from high school football.
I cannot believe that Gary Smith and Christian Stone would question the grit of today's high school football players simply because an insignificant team like the Bridgman Bees cannot muster enough players to field a team. The fact is, colleges today are recruiting players who are bigger, stronger and faster than those of glorious yesteryear.
BRIAN K. HARR
St. Clairsville, Ohio
Gary Smith's story hit the nail right on the head. It makes me sick to see so many youths quitting things because of a little unfair treatment or a little criticism. Kids these days are exactly what Chris Reimers Sr. says they are—spoiled little wusses. They have to realize that life isn't a bed of roses and that successful people don't let adversity stand in their way. Where do you think some of the great athletes of today would be if they had quit because someone told them they weren't good enough? Probably at home watching TV with the boycotting Bridgman football players.
Everybody is comparing Michael Irvin (far left) to the 49ers' Jerry Rice. Could you please tell me how Irvin's stats compare to those of Rice?
JOHN W. MCDONOUGH
PETER READ MILLER
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