To the Editor,
It warmed my heart to see last week's headlines declaring Culver the class 2A/1A state wrestling champions for 2007. The long wait is finally over, and Bulldogs past and present are dancing in the streets.
Congratulations! A dynasty appears to be in the making. When I first came to Madras as a sports writer in 1979, I only knew a handful of the local residents. One of those was Forrest Meuret, an outspoken advocate for Oregon's wild salmon. Forrest was lobbying for wild fish long before it became fashionable and he was one of my heroes, a John Henry-like conservationist who battled it out in the trenches for a worthwhile cause he believed in. He was also a legendary sports fisherman, an innovative blacksmith and the grandfather of Culver wrestling coach J.D. Alley.
I can still remember seeing Forrest and his wife Hazel cheering from the bleachers as a young J.D. pinned one foe after another on the black and orange mats in Culver's gym. Sometimes we'd sit together and tell fish stories or talk about our mutual affiliation with the Oregon Wildlife Federation. Forrest was a captivating storyteller, but the conversation came to an abrupt halt whenever the heavyweights squared off, because nothing was more important than his grandson's wrestling match.
J.D. Alley was an individual state champion on some very strong teams coached by Chuck Gates. He had a stellar college career and to his credit returned home to push the CHS program onto a higher plateau. Talk about your all-American superstars. That beats the Super Bowl and World Series MVP hands down for me.
Unfortunately, way leads on to way, and my trips to Culver are infrequent at best these days. I haven't seen one of J.D. Alley 's teams for many years, but I continue to root for him from an easy chair at home. And even though Forrest Meuret has been gone for a long time, the image of him sitting in those old wooden bleachers with Hazel by his side is still fresh. Your grandpa would be mighty proud J.D. Bill Rhoades