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It's Too Hot in Here

Yesterday, Minnesota Viking offensive tackle Korey Stringer died of a heat stroke at practice on a day when the heat index was 110 degrees. He stopped sweating, his insides started cooking and his body temperature went up over 108.


My son Jesse went to grade school with Korey. I can’t honestly say I remember him but the Stringer family was one of a handful of extended families from Mississippi that helped make Warren, Ohio a good place to live. I knew Stringers at work, at the Y, at the clubs. A couple of Stringers had a great barbecue place in town.


In the midst of this unusually cold Los Angeles summer, I remember the heat back home. Working on the pouring platform at Republic Steel one summer day with the temperature approaching 100, I got so hot I stopped sweating and, like Korey Stringer, I passed out. I was taken to the mill’s “hospital” but, unlike Korey Stringer, I survived.


I also remember two-a-day high school football practices in intense heat. If I had been a lot better at the sport, I could have been Korey Stringer. If he had been a lot worse at it, he could have been me.


Let’s play football and let’s make steel. But let’s cool out. We’re all in this life together, even after we leave it.



Email / August 1, 2001


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