Kevin Collins' untimely death earlier this week is another unfortunate reminder of just how precious life is.

Collins, Southern Columbia's head girls basketball coach, woke up Tuesday morning, played a round of golf with a friend, came home to rest before taking his team to a summer scrimmage, got stung by a bee and, rather than suffering from an allergic reaction, as was first thought, apparently had a massive heart attack and died. He never saw Wednesday, at least not on this earthly plane.

He was 45 years old and apparently in good health. He was a big man, but not overweight. He left behind a wife, five children and a lot of friends.

In the short time he had been at Southern, his personality and spirit won over a lot of people, including some who aren't so easily won over.

His death is the latest in a string of tragedies in recent years at Southern. There was the in-game heart attack and death of a JV basketball player, the drowning of two football players in 2004 and, more recently, unexpected deaths of several family members of the girls soccer team.

But Southern is not alone in tragedy. Mount Carmel Area was rocked in the past couple of months by the death of a recent graduate in an automobile accident and the sudden death of former superintendent Rich Beierschmitt.

Lourdes Regional, where Collins previously coached, is affected by his death, as it was by last year's horrible automobile accident in Florida which took the lives of four of the school's biggest supporters, and the sudden death of basketball coach Lee Korbich some years back.

The caps and gowns from commencement had hardly been put away last year when a recent Shamokin Area graduate was killed in an automobile accident and another recent graduate died while attending college in South Carolina.

The point here is that no one can say when his or her time is up, short of being suicidal.

Young, strong people obviously don't have to worry about health issues the way older people do, but even they need to be reminded of just how precarious their place in the world can be. Which is why they should think twice, or even three or four times, before they drink too much or do drugs (and drive), or text and drive, or say bad things about each other on social media, or engage in any of a number of foolish behaviors.

We all should appreciate our time on earth, our family, our friends, our lives, and the wonderful things that happen to us.

That's how all of the above persons, gone before their time, would want to be remembered,

(Souders is a sports writer for The News-Item)