Jackie was in critical condition for 10 days, and Rice spent the entire time in the hospital, catching sleep in spare rooms. And though Jerry has resumed his off-season workouts and Jackie—who's expected to make a full recovery—is at home, their lives have been irrevocably altered.
"I haven't slept well since then, and I don't know when I will," says Rice. "You have a day where you feel good at the beginning, but it's always in the back of your mind. The thought had never crossed my mind that I wouldn't wake up the next day or that my loved ones could be taken from me. Football was always Number 1, but after this happened to my wife, not now."
Spectators at last month's U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in Atlanta were warned repeatedly over the Olympic Stadium public-address system to take precautions against heat distress in the brutally muggy 98° conditions. "Drink 16 ounces of water an hour," was the refrain.
Sound advice. The only hitch was that the parched fan practically needed a divining rod to find a drinking fountain in the 85,000-seat stadium. In addition, spectators—most of whom gravitated to the shade under the upper deck—were prohibited from bringing any liquid other than water in plastic bottles. One alternative to dehydration was to shell out $2.75 per 16-ounce bottle of Crystal Springs water. Adhering to the organizers' hydration formula, that works out to $55 worth of water for a family of four over a five-hour afternoon track session.
Come the Games, with sellout crowds jamming the concessions stands in the trying conditions of midsummer and nowhere to hide for the thousands seated in the sun, the danger of heat-related trauma will be very real. It's probably too late to install more fountains, but organizers should give serious thought to lowering the price of water. Otherwise, that same family, if budget-conscious, might need a pack mule to lug in a few gallons of water.
Rating the Prospects
One of the most compelling characters in Lone Star, the stirring new film written and directed by John Sayles (who also directed 1988's Eight Men Out), is Bunny Kincaid, the football-obsessed former wife of lead character Sam Deeds. When Deeds visits her, Kincaid, clad in a Dallas Cowboys jersey and Houston Oilers cap and watching a Texas A&M game on television, engages in several minutes of football-related rambling before finding a tragicomic way to steer the conversation to the couple's failed marriage.
"You watch the draft this year?" asks Kincaid, who is played by Frances McDormand. "They try to make it dramatic, like there's some big surprise who picks who in the first round. Only they've been working it over with their experts and their computers for months. Doctors' reports, highlight reels, coaches' evaluations, psychological profiles—hell, I wouldn't be surprised if they collected stool samples on these boys. All this stuff to pick a football player for your squad. Compared to that, what you know about the person you get married to don't amount to diddly, does it?"
Good point. Chances are most of us don't even know our spouse's best time in the 40.