STRINGER'S DEATH IS SOBERING REMINDER

August 05, 2001 11:00 pm

With area high schools and Eastern Oregon University soon to begin fall football practice, it is time to review a few rules governing player safety. The death of Minnesota Vikings Pro Bowl offensive tackle Korey Stringer should be a wakeup call. Stringer died of heat stroke Wednesday after collapsing at training camp on the hottest day of the year. Reports were that the heat index (a combination of temperature plus humidity) got up to a miserable 110 degrees that day.

Sure, football is a rite of passage. It is one of many ways young boys turn themselves into men capable of meeting the challenges of life. The sport builds character and the ability to work as part of a team.The athletes learn about discipline and attention to detail, other keys to success in life.

But sometimes discipline can be carried too far. Although there is no reason for new laws governing coaching, football coaches do need to take personal responsibility for the health of their players. If the temperature climbs to more than 90 degrees, for example, players could practice in shorts and T-shirts and save the pads and hitting for cooler, safer days. And players should be encouraged to drink all the water they need.

When the going gets tough, the tough make good choices about what drills will work best for the benefit of the team. Players should learn from their coaches not only discipline and toughness but good, healthy choice-making.

THINK CONSERVATION

Character is doing whats right when nobodys looking. And conserving energy is all about character. Your neighbors are probably not going to rave about your latest conservation measures like they would if you bought a new car or got a new paint job on your house. Still, the hard truth is, the cost of electricity is going up, and the scramble to boost supply is on.

Northeast Oregon residents need to conserve energy, especially starting in October when the price of power is expected to rise about 25 percent. Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative is trying to stimulate that conservation. This month customers will get not only their bills in the mail but also two coupons worth $6 each toward the purchase of compact fluorescent light bulbs. The newer, more efficient bulbs, meant to replace incandescent bulbs, should last up to 10 times longer and use 80 percent less energy.

Admittedly, the compact fluorescent light bulbs cost more at the store. Using the newer bulbs, though, in your house can help you save from $20 to $50 a year. And that kind of savings would help any familys budget.

This is one of many steps consumers can take to still live comfortably yet keep demand for energy at sustainable consumption levels. Adversity such as this falls expected boost in electricity prices can bring out the best in people. If all of us do our part, and change some of our habits, we can make this crisis manageable.